Is it possible to get a lung transplant?

Read to know how one can undergo a lung transplant.

Yes, lung transplant can be done. But unlike liver transplant and corneal transplant, lung transplant is not very common and hence, most people are not aware of it. According to reports, the cases of lung transplant performed in India are less than 200 whereas the statistics around the world are more than 50 thousand.

Who can undergo lung transplant?

Lung transplantation is the last treatment option for people suffering from severe respiratory conditions. If a person suffering from advanced chronic lung disease fails to show improvement despite current medical therapy, then lung transplant might be considered. This includes patients who find it difficult to perform their daily chores including difficulty in walking. Also, patients who have been dependant on oxygen supply for a long time benefit the most from a lung transplant.

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Before lung transplantation, the lungs (either one or both) are thoroughly assessed through a series of clinical tests for the suitability of the organ. And after the organ has been found suitable for the donor, the transplant has to be performed within a minimal window period of six hours after the lungs are harvested. For lung transplantation either one or both lungs are taken from the deceased organ donor and transplanted into the recipient. (Read: Minimal access lung transplant offers Chennai man a new lease on life)

After lung transplantation, your doctor might recommend a series of dos and don'ts including a list of medications you have to take without fail. And of the common medications that are given after a transplant is immunosuppressants. As the lung is an active organ in the immune process, an intensive immunosuppression is required to lower the chances of rejection. And because of this, the recipient is potentially exposed to infective microbes through the air to improve the functioning of the lungs.

However, you should keep in mind that lung transplant not only requires expertise from medical field but also tremendous support from the family. Also, one has to do their bit of research before undergoing the transplant.

With inputs from Dr Syed Z Tousheed, Dr Basha J Khan, Dr BV Murali Mohan, Lung Transplant Physicians, Narayana Health City, Bangalore.

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