Lung Transplantation

Overview

The UW Medical Center transplant team has performed more than 500 lung transplants since 1992. It is the only lung transplant program in the Pacific Northwest and one of the top five largest programs in North America.

Surgeons at UWMC perform more than 50 transplants a year. Patients receiving a lung transplant at UWMC have a greater than 90 percent survival rate, which exceeds the national average. UWMC has received national recognition for the safety and effectiveness of its lung transplant program.

The UWMC lung transplant program emphasizes a multidisciplinary team approach throughout all phases of the transplant process, which includes involvement from the patient, their family and their community pulmonary physician.

Patients receive ongoing care from the lung transplant team, which includes specialists in pulmonary medicine, thoracic surgery, rehabilitation medicine, nursing, pharmacy, nutrition, social work, laboratory medicine, radiology and pulmonary diagnostics. Additional consultations are provided as needed from other specialty services.

Procedural Details

A lung transplant is a surgical procedure to replace one or both patient’s diseased lungs with healthy lungs from a donor.

Medications

  • Immunosuppressant medications to prevent organ rejection
  • Anti-infective drugs to help patients’ bodies prevent infection
  • Anti-hypertensive drugs to lower blood pressure as a result of the immunosuppressive therapies
  • Supplements, such as calcium or magnesium

Considerations

It is a life-saving therapy for patients with end-stage lung disease caused by conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, pulmonary vascular disease, emphysema, pulmonary hypertension or pulmonary fibrosis.

Effectiveness

Patients receiving a lung transplant at UW Medical Center have a greater than 90 percent survival rate. Patients also experience a tremendous improvement in quality of life.

Risks involved with a lung transplant include:

  • Organ rejection
  • Postsurgical fever or infection
  • Problems with anesthesia
  • Bleeding during surgery

Risks for not having treatment

Most patients in need of a lung transplant have less than one year to live. Without a new organ, they would die.

Urgency

Patients waiting for a lung transplant are ranked based on medical need and compatibility. The wait for a transplant at UW Medical Center is, on average, three to four months. National waiting times can be longer.
Patients awaiting transplantation need to be within four hours travel time to the medical center.