A lung transplant is a surgical operation performed to remove and replace a diseased or poorly functional lung with a healthy human lung from a donor.
A donor is usually a person whose lung is transplanted. He is a generally recently died person with functional lungs. In rare cases, a section of the lung is taken from a living donor for lung transplantation.
A lung transplant is recommended for those people whose lung is severely damaged and cannot perform the normal function, and the affected person cannot live longer enjoy life. Types
There are three types of lung transplant:
• Single lung transplant – where a single donor lung is used to replace diseased or damaged lungs, then it is termed as a single lung from the recipient and replaced with a lung from the donor, then it is called a single lung transplant. It is considered to treat pulmonary fibrosis, but it's never recommended for people with cystic fibrosis as infection will go from the remaining lung to the donated lung
• Double lung transplant – in this type, both the lungs are removed and replaced with two donated lungs. It is needed in people with cystic fibrosis or COPD.
• Heart-lung transplant – it is a more complicated surgery in which the heart and both lungs are removed, followed by replacement with a donated heart and lungs. It is often recommended to treat severe pulmonary hypertension. Candidates
The potential candidates for lung transplantation are those who have
• Advanced lung disease has not responded to other methods of treatment.
• a life expectancy less than 2 to 3 years without a transplant
• chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD),
• cystic fibrosis
• pulmonary hypertension
• idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
When a perfect matched donor’s lung is available, the patient is taken to the operation theater. This operation takes between 4 and 12 hours to complete, depending on the complexity of the procedure and the condition of the patient. It is performed when the patient is entirely unconscious under general anesthesia. A large incision is made in the chest to reach the lungs. The incision depends on the type of lung transplant:
• An incision on a single side of the chest only (for a single lung transplant)
• An incision across the entire width of the front of the chest, or an incision on either side (for a double lung transplant)
The patient is kept on a heart and lung bypass machine to keep your blood circulating during the operation. It is selected according to the condition of the individual. Then, the surgeon will connect the donated lungs to the relevant airways and blood vessels, and the chest is then closed. Advantages
Although lung transplants are risky and complex surgeries, they can have substantial benefits. Depending on the condition and health status of the patient, a lung transplant may increase the life expectancy of the patient. It will improve the quality of life, making breathing comfortable for the recipient. About 5 out of 10 people will have life expectancy for at least five years after a lung transplant. In a few cases, people may survive for at least ten years.
A lung transplant is a complex operation in which the recipient would take at least three months to recover. He may have to remain in the ICU for a few days after the surgery. Risks or Side Effects-
The side effects of lung transplant include
• Organ rejection when the recipient's body does not accept donated lung and consider it as foreign lungs
• Bleeding and blood clots
• Stomach problems
• Thinning of your bones (osteoporosis)
• Cancer and malignancies due to consumption of immunosuppressants
• Kidney damage