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Florida Hospital Transplant Institute

Lung Transplant Program

The Florida Hospital Transplant Institute seeks to improve the health and longevity of patients with serious pulmonary disorders through its lung transplant program. We provide a comprehensive lung transplant program, including bilateral lung transplants.

The lung specialists have completed more than 300 transplants, giving them experience and expertise that is difficult to match. Our comprehensive, multidisciplinary team is comprised of highly-skilled health care practitioners who are experts in the field of lung transplantation. Our team carefully reviews the best options to improve the quality of life of each and every patient we see - whether that means medication, surgery or a transplant.

Criteria for Transplant Candidates

Transplantation is not the right decision for every patient and physicians follow certain guidelines to determine whether the procedure is appropriate. Generally speaking, candidates for lung transplantation have advanced lung disease and a less-than-50-percent chance of surviving for two years. Lung transplants may also be an option for patients with a very poor quality of life.

The main conditions that lead to lung transplantation are:

  • Emphysema/COPD
  • Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
  • Cystic fibrosis and bronchiectasis
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Other diseases such as sarcoidosis, Langerhan’s cell granulomatosis and lymphangioleimyomatosis.

For more information, please read/download the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation’s guidelines for referrals related to each of the major respiratory guidelines.

If you or your referring physician would like to explore the possibility of a lung transplant, our team will conduct a thorough assessment to determine the candidacy of a patient. If the patient is not a candidate, perhaps because the transplantation would be ineffective or too much of a risk, we’ll advise the patient of alternative treatment options or the possibility of enrolling in a clinical trial.

The Reality for Transplant Candidates

The average waiting time for patients on the active lung transplant waiting list is between six and 12 months. (This fact underlines the importance of a timely referral and assessment of potential candidates.) The United Network for Organ Sharing has a national database that matches transplants with donors, and while this system has become increasingly inefficient in recent years, the inescapable reality is that the need for donor lungs exceeds the supply.

With that in mind, the skilled physicians of the Florida Hospital lung transplant program independently provide their expertise to local organ procurement organizations. This optimizes regional organ donation and gives our patients a better chance at receiving the organs they need and when they need them.

Once patients are officially accepted as a transplant candidate, it is imperative that they keep in close contact with our team. They must also commit to the required patient education programs and maintain their current medical treatment programs.

Lung Transplantation Results

Survival rates for lung transplant patients are improving. Currently, about 82 percent of lung transplant patients can expect to live at least one year. The five-year survival rate for lung transplant patients is about 55 percent. It’s important to note that candidates for lung transplant necessarily have less than a 50 percent chance of surviving two years without the transplant, so even relatively low long-term prognoses are a great improvement.

For the transplant patient, infection and rejection are the biggest threats. The experienced, expert lung transplant pulmonologists at Florida Hospital closely monitor patients for any possible complications. However, it’s incumbent on lung recipients to take an active role in their health care: remember to take their immunosuppressant medications (a lifelong commitment), keep in close contact with the transplant team and commit to regular follow-up examinations. In addition, we encourage our patients to maintain a healthy, active and responsible lifestyle in order to give themselves the best possible opportunity at long-term survival.