Pulmonary fibrosis is a chronic lung disease where the tissues in the lungs become hard and stiff, causing respiratory difficulties.
There is no cure for pulmonary fibrosis (PF), but there are treatments that can slow down the progression of the disease and help patients manage their symptoms. However, as the disease progresses, the only treatment option left for some PF patients will be a lung transplant.
According to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, approximately 2,000 lung transplant procedures were performed in the U.S. in 2015, and half of those were for pulmonary fibrosis patients. However, lungs are in short supply and many pulmonary fibrosis patients don’t live long enough to receive a pair of suitable lungs.
Those placed on the waiting list for new lungs will be given a priority score between zero and 100; the higher the score, the higher up the waiting list a patient will be placed. Typically, pulmonary fibrosis patients score between 35 and 50, although their score will go up if their health deteriorates.
There are many risks that come with lung transplants. Around 90 percent of lung transplant patients live for a year after the procedure, but this figure falls to 25 percent over 10 years. Many succumb to infection or their body rejects their new organ. Those who have a successful transplant will have to take antirejection drugs for the rest of their life.
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