Do You Need a Lung Transplant?
Lung disease is called end-stage when it has significantly worsened. Your lungs have a difficult time supplying the body with oxygen and pushing out gases like carbon dioxide. As a result, you may tire easily, become short of breath, wheeze or cough all the time.
If treatments such as medications and supplemental oxygen do not help, your doctor may recommend a lung transplant. The expert team at Henry Ford has been performing lung transplants since 1994.
Causes of lung failure
Common causes of lung failure include:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema
- Pulmonary fibrosis (scarring of the lungs)
- Sarcoidosis (inflammation of the lungs)
- Pulmonary hypertension (increased pressure in the arteries of the lungs)
- Genetic lung disease, such as cystic fibrosis or alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
Screening for lung transplant surgery
You must complete several medical tests before you can be considered for a lung transplant. These tests include:
- Physical exam, including medical history
- Blood and tissue typing
- Blood tests, including tests for HIV and hepatitis
- Lung culture
- Lung and kidney function tests
- Imaging, including chest X-ray and computed tomography (CT) chest scan
- Heart tests, including echocardiogram (ECG), electrocardiogram (EKG) and heart catheterization
Additional lung transplant requirements
To move forward with the lung transplant process, you also must meet additional criteria:
- Complete a mental health assessment: This testing identifies issues that may negatively affect your transplant process and recovery.
- Abstain from substance use: You must not consume alcohol or use tobacco products or prohibited substances for at least 6 months prior to your transplant. You should avoid these substances after your transplant as well. Henry Ford offers addiction treatment and tobacco treatment services.
- Form a support team: You will need a committed network of caregivers who can help you during your recovery.