Transplant Age Requirement
Let’s clear up a common myth: you won’t be considered for a lung transplant after age 65. There is a hard cutoff.
This is not true. 65 is a ballpark number. It’s the average maximum age at which patients will be able to successfully recover from a double lung transplant, but it isn’t a hard rule. Physicians use your chronological age (from birth) as a guideline, but they are more interested in your physiological age (body’s health age) when they are doing all of the tests and workups required to get on the list. You may be 65 years old, but if you are otherwise healthy, your physiological age could be much younger than your age from the date of birth. If you don’t have comorbidities to IPF or other major health issues, you can still be considered for a transplant at or after age 65.
Reasons you might be disqualified regardless of age: history of cancer, history of complex infections, failure to comply with doctors’ orders, insecure home environment/lack of social support (or a caregiver), other diseased organs (kidneys, liver, particularly).
Your age is not as important if you are healthy enough that they think you could recover from surgery and thrive afterward. If a transplant center disqualifies you solely on your age, don’t be afraid to seek a second opinion from a center that has a more collaborative approach to ILD and transplant care. It may mean that you need to relocate to qualify and receive/recover from a transplant, but if that is the journey you want to take with your IPF, it is worth it to explore your options!
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