What Is A Lung Transplant Evaluation?

What Is A Lung Transplant Evaluation?

Once you have been accepted into the lung transplant evaluation process, you will go through extensive testing. In the initial meetings with the team, you will learn what is expected of you. This evaluation is about you as a whole person. Are you physically, mentally, socially and financially ready for a lung transplant?

There are many deciding factors in receiving a lung transplant.

Here are a few examples1:

  • You will be required to be substance free for at least six months before transplant.
  • There is a zero tolerance for tobacco use.
  • You will need to show that you have a reliable support team in place: a primary and a secondary caregiver.
  • You must be able to meet the financial requirements (after your insurance and/or Medicare pay). If your funds are low, fundraising is allowed.
  • You must pass all physical tests.
  • You must be able to arrive at the transplant center within two hours of an organ becoming available. There may be a need to relocate once you are listed.
  • You must be up to date with routine exams and vaccines.

The above list is only a snapshot of the requirements. There are many more, and some may vary depending on the transplant center that you are using.

The evaluation process is not meant to be easy. It is meant to be thorough. Much will be asked of you during the transplant process, so the team needs to know that you can handle the pressures and the physical strains that you would go through. Your transplant team wants your success. This is not one of those times in life that you can say, “at least it’s not a matter of life and death,” because it actually is. It takes guts to go through this process. The evaluation is tough on the body and mind, and emotions are high for you (the patient) and the caregivers. It’s exciting and nerve-racking, at the same time. Then once the evaluation process is over, it’s time to wait.

The team takes this very seriously. The same team of people that you were with during the evaluation, is the same team that will discuss your case. You can rest assured that there will not be a random physician or specialist deciding your case. You should also know that no one person is in charge of granting or denying a transplant. Once you have completed the evaluation, the transplant team will go over your results and discuss whether or not you would be a good candidate2. You should receive a letter with the team’s decision within 10 days.  Based on the outcome of the evaluation, the team will make one of four recommendations: lung transplant is not the best treatment; it is too early to perform a transplant; more information is needed, or it is time to proceed with the lung transplant3.

If you have the option to be evaluated for a transplant, I hope that you will reach down deep into your core and give it your all. Once you have a decision from the team, you will at least know that you tried. There will never be the regret of “what if I had tried for a transplant.” You will know that you explored all of your options.

*All information is specific to Duke Transplant Center at Duke University. If your transplant center is different, there may be a slightly different process.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.
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