Lung transplant is an option for a few
people who have severe lung problems that are caused by
cystic fibrosis. The procedure removes the diseased
lungs and replaces them with healthy lungs from a recently deceased
Sometimes a procedure called a living-donor lobar lung
transplant is performed while a person is waiting for a full lung transplant.
In this procedure, the lower section (lobe) of one lung in each of two living
donors (who may be related or unrelated to the person who has cystic fibrosis)
is transplanted into the person who has cystic fibrosis. Because this
complicated transplant involves two living donors, it is performed less often
than other kinds of lung transplants.
After lung transplant surgery, you
will be put on a
ventilator, which is a machine that temporarily takes
over the breathing process. If there are no complications, you will use the
ventilator for 1 to 2 days.
You will likely need to stay in
the hospital for 2 to 3 weeks after the transplant.
You'll need to take antibiotics and medicines to suppress your immune system to raise the chances that your body will
accept the new lungs.
Some people who have severe lung
damage that was caused by cystic fibrosis may get a lung transplant. Experts
aren't sure if a lung transplant helps a child with cystic fibrosis live
longer.1 People who have mild or moderate disease do
not usually get a transplant, because the risks are greater than the
Several tests can help your doctor and you see how well a lung
transplant or a living-donor lobar lung transplant might work. These tests
lung function tests,
arterial blood gas tests, and exercise
The main risks of lung transplant are problems
during the surgery and rejection of the donated organs. Infection and rejection
of transplanted organs have similar symptoms, including fever, tiredness, and
After a lung transplant, preventive
antibiotic therapy starts right away.
You will also take immunosuppressant medicines, usually for the rest of your life.
Although immunosuppressant medicines raise the chances that your body will
accept the new lungs, they also make it harder for your body to fight off
Complete the surgery information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.
CitationsLiou TG, et al. (2007). Lung transplantation and
survival in children with cystic fibrosis. New England Journal of Medicine, 357(21): 2143–2152. [Erratum in New England Journal of Medicine, 359(e6).]Health Resources and Services Administration (2007).
2007 Annual Report of the U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network and the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients: Transplant Data 1997–2006. Available online:
June 15, 2011
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Susanna McColley, MD - Pediatric Pulmonology
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