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  • Transplant Age Requirement

    Posted by Christie Patient on March 21, 2022 at 8:11 pm

    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!

    CHVR replied 1 month ago 11 Members · 17 Replies
  • 17 Replies
  • Jack Blum

    Member
    March 22, 2022 at 10:06 pm

    I got my transplant at the age of 71 at St Jo’s in Phoenix AZ. I will be 74 in April. I didn’t have any other health issues, so I got approved for transplant. As of last month, St Jo’s has done over 1000 transplants.

    • Christie Patient

      Moderator
      March 27, 2022 at 8:55 pm

      Great testimony Jack, thanks for sharing! My mom was 69 when she had hers at UCSF.

    • Craig Brennan

      Member
      April 9, 2022 at 2:58 pm

      I have just started the process of being considered for a long transplant I am 73 years old soon to turn 74.  I  have been reasonably able to do most things while on 3% supplemental oxygen and it has only been a week now that I have lost significant lung capacity. My weight is about average for my age I have remained healthy throughout my  life.  I’m hoping that I’m approved for a transplant. My question would be if I’m offered a single lung transplant compared to a bilateral lung transplant what is the significant difference? If  offered only a single lung what is the possibility of getting back to normal activities  such as lawn choirs, garage cleaning?

      • Christie Patient

        Moderator
        April 12, 2022 at 9:42 pm

        Hi Craig @patrick, doctors told us that a single healthy lung is just about as good as two. The healthy lung would take over and you probably wouldn’t be able to tell. There are several members here who’ve had one who might chime in on the matter, but everyone I know has said they feel just fine with one.

        As for your other question, regardless of whether you get one lung or two, you won’t be allowed to do yardwork or garage cleaning tasks anymore. Those chores are high risk for someone with a compromised immune system because of the microscopic junk that they stir up. While those of us with healthy immune systems aren’t usually affected by breathing in mold spores, bacteria, etc. in higher quantities, compromised immune systems can’t take care of those little intruders and they can lead to deadly infections (aspergillosis, toxoplasmosis, etc.). You could wear a respirator I suppose, but the debris from those tasks will stick to your skin and clothes so until you get in the shower you’re carrying all of it around and breathing it in. Not worth it.

      • Craig Brennan

        Member
        April 13, 2022 at 11:51 am

        Thank you all for your input regarding single compared to bilateral lung transplant.

  • Kris manian

    Member
    March 23, 2022 at 8:04 am

    Thanks for the great information on transplants. I am 71 and will need a transplant. I am in good physic except for IPF.

    jack congrats for a successful transplant and nearing 2 years after that. God bless and live long.
    how long is the wait after qualifying for transplant?

    I live in Sanfrancisco Bay Area and UCSF will be the center for transplant.
    please provide more info on tests for qualifying as well as post transplant info if possible.
    thanks

    kris

    • Christie Patient

      Moderator
      March 27, 2022 at 9:08 pm

      Hi Kris, my mom is also a patient at UCSF. She had her transplant there 3 years ago. The team there is very collaborative, and despite being known for taking on cases that are very complex, they have some of the best survival rates of any transplant center in the country. You will be in good hands. Are you already a patient there? If not, I would suggest getting a referral as soon as possible and getting started. They will be able to answer all of your questions and move you through the steps toward transplant when you are ready. They also have a support group for patients that meets monthly on zoom (though there has been a break as the social worker who facilitated it changed jobs).

      You might enjoy my column, which is about my mom’s transplant journey at UCSF. This post is about getting on the list. You can also find more information on UCSF’s lung transplant program website. The UNOS website is also a great place for general transplant information and statistics. Here’s a link to 2021 transplant data. Click around to see different categories, and past years’ data/

      • Kris manian

        Member
        April 19, 2022 at 9:26 am

        Thanks Christie for that great information.
        I also read your column about your mothers journey..Absolutely amazing. Thanks for sharing such valuable information. God bless
        kris

  • Pat

    Member
    April 18, 2022 at 11:15 am

    only true in usa unfortunately

    • Christie Patient

      Moderator
      April 18, 2022 at 7:52 pm

      A good point that I did not consider. Thank you for commenting Pat. Would you mind sharing where you live, and what the requirements are like there? It will help me, and likely others, learn about transplant care worldwide.

  • Jeff Taylor-Jackson

    Member
    April 19, 2022 at 10:01 am

    Hi all,

    I am a month away from being 62 and I live in Poole South coast of England.

    I was diagnosed with IPF in April 2021. I have spoken to my consultant and a number of people who have had the transplant. I think here, it is pretty much the same as what has already been said, aside from your weight. If you are obese, I dont think anyone here would take you on. One chap I spoke to recently was 67 when he had his and is now 72. He is happily back riding his pedal bike with his mates, he says he struggles to keep up, but I’m sure thaey are not racing.

    As for the single or double, my wife has COPD. She was born with CDH (you might have to google that) and as such only has one fully developed lung. She recently had a lung function test, and the guy told her that despite her single lung, she functioned as well as someone with two.

    Kind regards

    Jeff

     

    • Christie Patient

      Moderator
      April 21, 2022 at 12:18 am

      Hi Jeff, thanks for sharing information about the process in the UK. I was pretty single-minded about US procedures when I originally wrote the post, and it’s helpful to get input from people worldwide. Obesity is a big factor here as well, though most PF patients tend to be underweight due to medication side effects and loss of appetite by the time they get around to being listed. I have spoken to several people in our support group at the hospital who had to lose weight before they could be listed. I’m not sure what their original disease was though.

  • Marianne

    Member
    April 21, 2022 at 10:01 am

    Hi – I believe different transplant centers have different requirements.  I know that Ohio State University – Columbus, OH has a cut off date of age 70 for a lung transplant but I have heard that isn’t always a firm decision.   I am quickly approaching that age.  I believe other centers will transplant up to age 72-73.  I do know that OSU is doing some research into using lungs from people who have drowned for transplant.  If centers are keeping firm on cut off dates based on age many of us might age out before needing a transplant.  This is just one small consideration for a transplant.

     

    Marianne

  • CArol Madara

    Member
    June 5, 2024 at 6:02 pm

    I am now 77 and told that I may be “nearing the need” for a lung transplant but in the same breath told that UPMC hospital’s age requirement stops at 65. I am in reasonably good health and am still active.

    I was diagnosed in 2022 with Interstitial Lung Disease that I am told I had for awhile before finally getting a definitive diagnosis. Prior to that my PCP told me my continual coughing was “asthma” or bronchitis before finally referring me to a Pulmonologist. Does anyone know of a Transplant Center that would consider me? It’s not really my fault that it took so long for my doctors to diagnose me.

    Or if failing to qualify because of age , does anyone know of any new drug therapies in the pipeline , or an experimental drug trial that I could get referred to?

    I have been on Ofev since diagnosed and deal with its side effects. My last CAT scan showed “significant lung scarring”.

    • Kevin collier

      Member
      June 6, 2024 at 2:23 pm

      Hi, I am 75 and will turn 76 in October, my doctor just told me that he did not see a problem giving me a transplant in a year or two, I am not ready for one yet. I get my care at Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland Oh. and would recommend them to anyone.

  • Terri

    Member
    June 6, 2024 at 2:59 pm

    My pulmonary doctor told me I’d have to be cancer-free for 5 years, which will be 2027, and that I’d have to lose 30 pounds before I could get on the registry for a transplant. I’m 61 and working on getting the weight off before 2027.

  • CHVR

    Member
    June 13, 2024 at 5:40 pm

    My question would be…How serious does one’s lung issues have to be, for a hospital to justify doing a lung transplant for someone? I was diagnosed in November 2017 with IPF, and my pulmonologist says that in that time, I have lost about 15% of my breathing capacity. I doubt I would be considered a serious enough case to warrant a transplant. I am also 78 years old…will be 79 in October…and so my age would most likely disqualify me, I would think.

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