Evaluation for Lung Transplant

After your primary care physician or specialist determines that you should be evaluated for a lung transplant, your first appointment with our team will be a consultation with one of the pulmonologists and/or the thoracic surgeon. During this meeting, we will review your medical history and results of tests previously performed by your primary care doctor (x-rays, CT scans, and lung function studies) and perform a physical examination. We also will discuss the lung transplantation process with you.

This initial evaluation may require a full day, so we suggest you plan accordingly. Your visit may entail meeting a transplant pulmonologist, a thoracic surgeon, and a transplant coordinator.  At the conclusion of these meetings, we will assess your medical status and may recommend further testing for lung transplantation. Based on past experience, a decision to go ahead with further testing occurs in about one half of patients who have an initial evaluation. Because we will discuss a large amount of complicated information related to your medical care, we strongly suggest that you bring a family member or a friend who can help you ask questions during this first visit.

Should you and your family/advocates, as well as the transplant team, mutually decide to proceed with further evaluation for lung transplantation, the next step is to complete the necessary testing. The evaluation process to become a candidate for a lung transplant is quite extensive. The majority of testing is completed during a 48- to 72-hour admission. There are a significant number of tests to be completed during this stay. Visit Diagnostic Tests to learn more.

You also will participate in several consultations during your hospitalization. 

  • The lung transplant social worker will meet with you to review our program in detail and to provide any counseling or educational needs. During your hospitalization, the social worker will work closely with your nurses and the transplant team to monitor your needs, both emotional and physical.
  • The transplant psychiatrist will interview you to assess your particular style of coping, stress management, and relaxation. The psychiatrist will discuss the emotional concerns that you have regarding your lung transplant. Appropriate referrals can be made if you and the physician feel that you need ongoing counseling to help you during this stressful time.
  • During the transplant evaluation process you also will meet with the transplant dietitian. During this initial evaluation, you will discuss your weight, your weight change history, the foods you typically eat, and your appetite.

Other consultations will be obtained, if necessary, for specific issues related to your health. These may include an evaluation by an infectious disease specialist; an ear, nose, and throat physician; and/or a pulmonary rehabilitation specialist.

Following your evaluation, our team will determine whether a lung transplant would be a suitable treatment for your condition. If a transplant is recommended, the team also will determine whether you would be best served by a single or double transplant, based on the severity of your illness and other medical conditions. Once you have been approved for a transplant, your name will be added to a waiting list.

Evaluation for lung transplantation requires a great deal of coordination, time, and effort by the transplant team members, and, most importantly, by you and your family or friends. Our goal is to complete your evaluation as quickly and comfortably as possible. Your safety, comfort, and state of mind are very important to us during this stressful time.

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