Lung Transplant Process

A lung transplant is a major procedure, so it is natural to have concerns. At Henry Ford, our lung transplant team provides a highly specialized, personal touch.

Whether you need answers, reassurances or just a shoulder to lean on, your transplant team will be with you through every step.

Waiting for a lung transplant

As soon as you receive transplant approval, your transplant coordinator will place you on the national lung transplant waitlist.

The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) manages this list. UNOS matches organ donors and transplant recipients throughout the Midwest and across the country. Your transplant coordinator will notify you when a donor lung becomes available.

Factors affecting your lung transplant wait

Your wait for a donor lung may range from a few days to years. Many factors affect your wait time, including your:

  • Health status
  • Blood type
  • Body size

Learn about Henry Ford’s lung transplant outcomes.

Receiving a lung transplant

During the lung transplant process, you can expect certain steps:

  • After surgery, you receive exceptional care in our specialized transplant recovery unit. This unit has filtered air to lower your risk of infection.
  • You may need a ventilator for several days until your new lung starts working.
  • You recover under the attentive care of our transplant team. The length of your hospital stay depends on the complexity of your surgery and your health.
  • While in the hospital, you meet with one of our specially trained transplant pharmacists and start taking transplant medications. You need to take immunosuppressants, medicines to keep your body from rejecting the donor organ, for life.
  • You begin pulmonary rehabilitation while recovering in the hospital and continue rehab after your discharge. This exercise and lifestyle program strengthens your lungs and returns you to an active life.
  • If you need more time to regain your strength and mobility before going home, you can receive more extensive rehabilitation through our partnership with the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan (RIM).
  • Once you are home, you can receive your checkups, blood tests and lung function tests at any of our convenient Michigan lung transplant clinics.

Resources for transplant patients and caregivers

Our caring staff at Guest Services can help you and your loved ones with travel and lodging arrangements, as well as provide other support. Learn more about our resources.

Take the next step

Speak with a Transplant Institute specialist.