Although uncommon, lung transplants are sometimes used in
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). During a
lung transplant, you are given a lung from a donor who has recently died. A
single-lung transplant (receiving one lung) is done more often than a
double-lung transplant (receiving two lungs). Improvement in the ability to
exercise is nearly as good in people who have a single-lung transplant as it is
in those who have a double-lung transplant.
surgery has been found to help people with COPD for at least 3 to 4 years after
surgery. A transplant can improve breathing and quality of life. But the
long-term benefit of lung transplant for people with COPD is not yet
Emphysema is a form of chronic (long-term) lung disease. People with emphysema have difficulty breathing from a limitation in blowing air out. There are multiple causes of emphysema, but smoking is by far the most common.
Emphysema is the main type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Although emphysema has no cure, quitting smoking reduces the rate of emphysema disease progression.
Other considerations for lung transplant include the
It can take a long time to find a donor whose
blood and tissue types match yours.
You will have to take medicine
for the rest of your life to prevent rejection of the new lung. Even then,
there is a chance that rejection will occur.
The medicines you
must take suppress your
immune system, resulting in an increased risk of
developing severe and life-threatening infections.
If you are interested in lung transplants, you may be
referred to a transplant center, where you will have extensive physical and
psychological testing to see whether you are a good candidate for a lung
transplant. The testing includes exercise tests, lung function tests, heart
function tests, numerous blood tests, psychological profiles, and other
specialized testing. In addition, you need to demonstrate mental stability and
the commitment that is needed to follow up with the medical demands after the
If you become a candidate for a transplant, you are
placed on a waiting list. Depending on where the transplant center is located,
the wait for a lung transplant can be from 1 year to over 2 years.