Lung transplant - series

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Normal anatomy

The lungs, which reside in the thorax, or chest cavity, act as a site for oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange for the blood.

Normal anatomy

Indication

Lung transplants may be recommended for patients with severe lung disease such as:

  • permanent enlargement of air sacs (alveoli) with loss of ability to completely exhale (emphysema)
  • hereditary lung blockages (cystic fibrosis)
  • long-term (chronic) infections (sarcoidosis)
  • permanent scarring and thickening of lung tissue (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis)
Indication

Incision

While the patient is deep asleep and pain-free (general anesthesia), an incision is made through the breast bone (sternum). One or two donor lungs are transplanted, depending on the diease process being treated.

Incision

Procedure

Tubes are used to re-route the blood to a heart-lung bypass machine to keep the blood oxygenated and circulating during the surgery.

The patient's lungs are removed and the donor lungs are stitched into place. Drainage tubes (chest tubes) are inserted to drain air, fluid, and blood out of the chest for several days to allow the lungs to fully re-expand.

Procedure

Aftercare

The patient's lungs are removed and the donor lungs are stitched into place. Drainage tubes (chest tubes) are inserted to drain air, fluid, and blood out of the chest for several days to allow the lungs to fully re-expand.

Patients will require immunosupressive mediccations for the rest of their lives to prevent immune rejection of the transplanted lung. Lung transplantation results vary depending on the disease being treated and the experience of the center performing the surgery.

Aftercare

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 5/4/2011
  • Shabir Bhimji, MD, PhD, Specializing in General Surgery, Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Midland, TX. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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This page was last updated: April 14, 2014

         
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