The Transplant Evaluation Request.

The Transplant Evaluation Request

Maybe you have heard of someone going through a transplant or maybe you have contributed financially to help someone else. However, I imagine that you never thought you would be considering something like this for yourself (or a loved one). If this option is being presented, it means that there is a possibility that you could be a candidate.

What does it really mean to have a lung transplant? In basic terms, during surgery, one or both of your diseased lungs will be removed and healthy lungs from someone very recently deceased will be placed into your body1. This is major surgery, and because of the risks of rejection or complications from the surgery, a thorough series of tests will be performed to make sure that your body can handle it. Consideration for a transplant only comes after your lungs have become so bad that they are unable to perform the job of exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide and no other treatment available2.

Your pulmonary physician is your first line of action when considering a lung transplant. He (she) will be the one to make the request and submit your medical records to the transplant center. In most cases, your doctor will not want to refer you too early because to become eligible for a lung transplant, you will need to go through extensive testing. This testing is not something you would want to endure more than once. Also, out of consideration for other patients needing a transplant right away, it is important that each evaluation offered is not taking away from someone that needs a transplant immediately.

After the transplant center receives the request and medical records, the transplant team will review your case and schedule your evaluation, or you will be told that you will not be considered. Many times your pulmonary physician will have a good idea of your case. He/she will not know for sure what the transplant center will do, but knowing your lungs and your medical history, your doctor should be able to tell you if there is a good chance. In our case, mom had other medical issues through the years, not lung related, that we were unsure of the impact on the committee’s decision.

We experienced both sides of the initial consideration process. At first mom was denied evaluation. I remember being far away for work when I called home to find out that she would not be considered. It was a difficult conversation, full of emotions. Then a few weeks later, she received a letter in the mail stating that they had reviewed her case again and decided to allow her into the evaluation process. I am unsure how this happened, maybe it was standard procedure to review borderline cases twice. Whatever the reason, mom was given the opportunity to go through the evaluation process.

If you are thinking that you’re just not sure you would ever want to go through a transplant, you are not alone. My mom had several major surgeries when I was a child, so she consistently told us that she did not want to consider a transplant. Then after my husband and I experienced a miscarriage, my mom asked her doctor, seemingly out of the blue, to begin the process for consideration. I remember almost crying as I heard the words come out of her mouth, and I remember the look on her doctor’s face. We were so glad she was willing to just try. What I’m saying is, revisit your decision about whether or not you want to consider a transplant. Things change, for better and sometimes for worse. Don’t be afraid to change your mind. It never hurts to ask.

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.
View References
  1. Duke Transplant Center, Patient Education, Before Your Transplant - Part 1. pg.2. Current for 2016.
  2. Duke Transplant Center, Patient Education, Before Your Transplant - Part 1. pg. 4. Current for 2016.

Comments

View Comments (3)
  • Jimbo1950
    2 years ago

    I am considering lung reduction surgery. I just wondered what tests are done first

  • Tonya Hidalgo moderator author
    2 years ago

    Jimbo1950,
    With a lung reduction surgery or a lung transplant, the team that you will be working with may have their own timeline for tests. The only way to know for your specific situation is to begin the inquiry process and ask those questions in your first meeting with the team.
    Let us know how it goes.
    Tonya Hidalgo (moderator)

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi Jimbo1950 and thanks for your inquiry. As you may be aware, it is a lengthy and extensive process being considered for a lung transplant. In view of your question, I thought you might find it helpful to look over this article on “What Tests Should I Expect During a Lung Transplant Evaluation?”: https://copd.net/living/types-of-tests-lung-transplant-evaluation/
    Please check back with us and let us know how you’re doing.
    All the best,
    Leon (site moderator)

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