Lung Transplant- A New Lease of Life


Lung transplantation is a process of replacing the diseased or damaged lung with a new one from healthy donors. Every year, millions of people across the world undergo lung transplant surgery due to damage their lungs have suffered over the years.

In recent years, the survival rate after undergoing the treatment has been improved. However, doctors hesitate in performing the surgery if the patient crosses 60 years.

Why is Lung Transplant Necessary?

A person going through the lung failure or any disease in the region may be given initial stage of treatment. However, if the problem persists, then lung transplant is the last option considered. Some of the reasons why this surgery is recommended are:

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Has a life expectancy of 12-24 months without undergoing the surgery
  • Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Lung tissue getting destroyed by smoking.

Procedure: Undergoing the Surgery:

The process of the pre-surgery can be long and complicated. Doctors evaluate the patient condition and conduct a talk with health professionals at the regional transplant center. Besides the condition, the team also considers family support, donors’ health condition and psychological condition. There are a number of tests done before the surgery:

  • Pulmonary Function Test
  • Cardiac Stress Test
  • Blood Test for Kidney function

There are different types of lung transplant surgery including:

  • Single Lung
  • Double Lung
  • Bilateral Sequential
  • Heart-Lung Transplantation

Similarly, the donor’s lung condition is also tested. Healthy and non-smoking adults who’re willing to donate their lung are considered during the process. Pros/Cons of Lung Transplant:


  • A healthy donated lung can give extended life-expectancy
  • Easy breathing and perform regular physical activities


  • Being a risky process, the transplant may fail, if organ of the diseased body rejects the lungs
  • Post-surgery consuming medications can lead to infection on lungs and other body regions resulting in hospitalization
  • Airways problems if there isn’t blood flow to the areas which are surgically connected
  • May lead to cancer if the immune system isn’t strong and bad cells multiply in the body
  • Increase risk of diabetes, osteoporosis and kidney disease.

Finding the Symptoms through Diagnosis:

To diagnose the lung diseases, doctor conducts various tests which include:

Imaging Test: Getting an x-ray image of your infected lung to find the abnormal mass.

Sputum Cytology: This is done for a patient having a cough and producing sputum. It helps the doctor to know the presence of lung cancer cells.

CT-Scan (Computerized Tomography): After the chest x-ray, the doctor would conduct CT scan to find symptoms. It gives a 3D view of the lung to get a proper evaluation of the affected area.

Prognosis: The Survival Rate after surgery:

Once the lung transplant surgery is done, there can be changes in the body function. For many, the process is nothing less than a lifesaver. Approx. 80% of patients experience no limitations on the activity performed. However, the immune system may work against your body due to certain medication that brings down the power of the immune.


Although lung transplants are a risky thing to do, but when your lungs get failed and no treatment cures you, then surgery is the only option left. Following a healthy lifestyle is the key to a better lung condition.

About the author

Dr Lifesaving
By Dr Lifesaving