5 Myths About Lung Transplantation

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Prof. Daniel Chambers from the Queensland Lung Transplant Service, in The Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane, Australia, debunks a few myths about lung transplantations with some pulmonary fibrosis  patients and other patients with lung complications:

 

Myth 1. “Lung Transplantations are experimental treatments.”

Lung transplantation was revolutionary when it was first performed in Canada, in 1983. Nowadays, it’s a well-established treatment for patients suffering from advanced lung diseases. Over 40,000 transplants have been successfully performed around the world.

 

Myth 2. “You’re just too old to have a transplant now.”

Although lung transplantation is considered a high-risk procedure, especially at an older age, most programs worldwide accept patients up to 65 years of age. However, by the age of 70 the actual risk of transplantation increases so much it becomes prohibitive, although this often debated and changed, depending on how healthy the patient is, even at this older age. It is expected that in the near future this will cease to be a problem lung transplants will be a viable option for anyone who is considered a good candidate healthwise.

 

Myth 3.” Lung transplantations last a short time.”

Nowadays, prolonged survival following transplantation is the standard. Most patients who undergo these procedures now return to a regular life, be it at work,  playing sports, traveling about, spending time with their  family, you name it.

 

Myth 4. “The heart is more important than lungs.”

Yes it’s true you can’t survive without a heart, but you also cannot survive without your lungs functioning!

Nevertheless, its still “easier” to live without much heart function (with mechanical support) while awaiting transplantation, than living with faulty lung functioning. Lungs have a more complex system which needs to accurately match blood flow with the gas flow at the same time, while simultaneously needing to be protected from the “outside world”. In contrast the heart is a relatively simple “pump” and can be more easily replicated by a mechanical support. Scientists say that artificial, biocompatible hearts may be a reality in the near future, and that artificial lungs are “probably 30 years away” due to their complexity.

 

Myth 5. “Two lungs are a lot better than one.”

It’s a reality that a double lung transplant is better, but a single lung transplant serves in itself as an excellent treatment option in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), because of the scarring nature of the disease it can be challenging finding a suitable double lung donor.

 

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Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

One comment

  1. Evelyn says:

    What about all the medicine you are put on after a transplant? Is it for the rest of your life, do you eventually only have to take a couple of pills opposed to several?
    Will there be chest pain or numbness years after surgery?

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