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Lung Transplant Process - Before Surgery


Lung Transplant Criteria

The first step in the lung transplant process is evaluation. Prior to being considered for a lung transplant, you will be seen as an outpatient or possibly be admitted to St. Joseph’s for an evaluation. During your evaluation, you will meet a number of doctors and specialists and have many blood and skin tests, X-rays, and other diagnostic procedures to determine whether lung transplantation would be your best option.

You will be introduced to our:

  • Transplant Coordinator
  • Pulmonologist
  • Dietitian
  • Social Worker
  • Financial Coordinator

The evaluation period is designed not only for the team to learn about you, but also for you and your family to meet us, learn about lung surgery, and discover what our program has to offer.

It will also give you the opportunity to learn about life after a lung transplant and, most importantly, to decide if you wish to pursue transplantation. Doing well after a lung transplant requires commitment as the regimen is intense and must be adhered to.

Lung Transplant Waiting List Placement

After undergoing an evaluation and determining if you fit the lung transplant criteria, your case will be discussed at a conference with our dedicated team members. If you are determined to be an appropriate candidate for lung transplantation, you will be placed on the lung transplant list with the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).

Until you receive a new lung, you will: 

  • Continue follow-up with your referring physician
  • Be given regular tests
  • Begin a “healthy living” regimen that includes changes in your nutrition, no tobacco use and limited or no use of alcohol. This regiment will help you get into the best possible physical condition for surgery. 
  • Be put in touch with social services to help coordinate lodging and transportation, legal issues, finances and more
  • Be counseled, along with members of your family, as to what to expect during your entire lung transplant process – before, during and after surgery
  • Be told what to do when it is your time to receive a donor lung—for example, how to get to St. Joseph’s as quickly as possible
  • Be reminded to get your flu shot

Getting the Call for a Transplant

After you are accepted as a transplant candidate, you can be called to the hospital at any time. You must arrive at St. Joseph's promptly. Upon arrival, the anesthesia team will evaluate you, and pre-operative tests such as an EKG, chest X-ray and blood work will be done prior to proceeding. Occasionally, donor lungs initially thought to be suitable turn out not to be optimal for transplant, and you may have to return home. This is called a "dry run". More often, though, you will proceed to transplant surgery.

Learn more about:

Learn More About the Lung Transplant Process at St. Joseph’s

For more information about the lung transplant criteria and waiting list, please call 602.406.8000