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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
Criteria have not been firmly established for selecting
people with COPD to have a lung transplant. Lung transplant for people with
COPD may be considered for those who:
Other things to think about for lung transplant include the
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.
November 29, 2011
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Ken Y. Yoneda, MD - Pulmonology
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