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Miami Transplant Institute

1801 NW 9th Avenue

Miami, FL 33136

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Holtz Children’s Hospital

1611 N.W. 12th Avenue

Miami, FL 33136

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Lung Transplant

Staying in the forefront of transplant medicine with new treatment options for patients of all ages.

The Miami Transplant Institute

If you need a lung transplant, our multidisciplinary team at the Miami Transplant Institute will provide the best possible care. Our knowledge, experience, and advanced surgical procedures allow us to treat the most challenging patients. We also collaborate with Jackson Health System’s pulmonologists, cardiac surgeons, and cardiologists to address advanced lung disease and other serious problems related to the lungs.

The Miami Transplant Institute

If you need a lung transplant, our multidisciplinary team at the Miami Transplant Institute will provide the best possible care. Our knowledge, experience, and advanced surgical procedures allow us to treat the most challenging patients. We also collaborate with Jackson Health System’s pulmonologists, cardiac surgeons, and cardiologists to address advanced lung disease and other serious problems related to the lungs.

Overview

The lungs are critical in delivering oxygen to the rest of the body. When the lungs stop functioning properly due to severe disease or injury, a lung transplant may be necessary. A lung transplant is a surgical procedure that replaces one or both diseased or damaged lungs with healthy lungs from a deceased donor.

Overview

The lungs are critical in delivering oxygen to the rest of the body. When the lungs stop functioning properly due to severe disease or injury, a lung transplant may be necessary. A lung transplant is a surgical procedure that replaces one or both diseased or damaged lungs with healthy lungs from a deceased donor.

Why Might I Need a Lung Transplant?

You may be a good candidate for a lung transplant if you have a severe lung disease that is getting worse or a condition that prevents your lungs from working properly. If your condition is so serious that other treatments don’t work and you have a life expectancy of 12 to 24 months, a lung transplant may be the only option.

Lung transplants are most often performed to treat people who have severe:

Why Might I Need a Lung Transplant?

You may be a good candidate for a lung transplant if you have a severe lung disease that is getting worse or a condition that prevents your lungs from working properly. If your condition is so serious that other treatments don’t work and you have a life expectancy of 12 to 24 months, a lung transplant may be the only option.

Lung transplants are most often performed to treat people who have severe:

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Consists of two diseases: chronic bronchitis and emphysema which causes less air to flow in and out of the lungs.

Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD)

A group of conditions that cause scarring of the lungs and make it increasingly difficult to breathe. Examples of ILDs include idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), hypersensitivity, pneumonitis, sarcoidosis, and asbestosis.

Cystic Fibrosis

This condition affects the cells that produce mucus, making them sticky and thick. The mucus clogs airways and traps germs, leading to infections and other complications.  

Bronchiectasis

Chronic infection that causes the walls of the airways to thicken and decreases lung function. 

Pulmonary Hypertension

A condition that increases pressure in the arteries that supply blood to the lungs. 

Description

Most of our transplant patients have interstitial lung disease, a group of disorders that cause permanent scarring of the lungs and make it increasingly difficult to breathe. Other types of advanced lung disease include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis, and cystic fibrosis. These conditions—which tend to be underdiagnosed—generally do not respond adequately to medical treatment. As the disease worsens, a lung transplant may be the only available course of treatment.

Description

Most of our transplant patients have interstitial lung disease, a group of disorders that cause permanent scarring of the lungs and make it increasingly difficult to breathe. Other types of advanced lung disease include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis, and cystic fibrosis. These conditions—which tend to be underdiagnosed—generally do not respond adequately to medical treatment. As the disease worsens, a lung transplant may be the only available course of treatment.

Introducing Our New Lung Center

Our newly established Lung Center at the Miami Transplant Institute was designed to provide the most innovative approaches to insurgical lung and respiratory care.

Factors that May Affect Your Eligibility for a Lung Transplant

While a lung transplant can be a life-saving procedure for patients with severe lung disease, not all patients are candidates for surgery.

Factors that may affect your eligibility for receiving a lung transplant include:

  • Bodyweight too high or low
  • Recent history of cancer
  • Serious heart, liver, or kidney disease
  • Current smoker or history of substance abuse
  • Inability to follow a long-term health plan

Factors that May Affect Your Eligibility for a Lung Transplant

While a lung transplant can be a life-saving procedure for patients with severe lung disease, not all patients are candidates for surgery.

Factors that may affect your eligibility for receiving a lung transplant include:

  • Bodyweight too high or low
  • Recent history of cancer
  • Serious heart, liver, or kidney disease
  • Current smoker or history of substance abuse
  • Inability to follow a long-term health plan

How Common are Lung Transplants?

Lung transplants are not very common because of the limited amount of donor organs available. About 2,500 lung transplants were done in the United States in 2021. More donor lungs would increase the number of lungs that can be transplanted.

How Common are Lung Transplants?

Lung transplants are not very common because of the limited amount of donor organs available. About 2,500 lung transplants were done in the United States in 2021. More donor lungs would increase the number of lungs that can be transplanted.

Types of Lung Transplants

There are three main types of lung transplants:

Types of Lung Transplants

There are three main types of lung transplants:

Single lung transplant

Consists of removing one of your diseased or injured lungs and replacing it with a donated lung.

Double lung transplant

Consists of removing both of your lungs and replacing them with 2 donated lungs.

Heart-lung transplant

Consists of removing your heart and both of your lungs and replacing them with a donated heart and lungs.

Blood Tests/Diagnostic Tests

Before a lung transplant, you must go through a thorough pre-transplant screening. During an evaluation, your doctors and transplant team may review your medical history, conduct a physical examination, and evaluate your mental and emotional health. The medical team will also confirm whether you smoke or use alcohol or drugs. Lung transplant recipients must be nicotine-free for several months before being put on the transplant list.

You also will have tests conducted to determine whether you’re healthy enough for a lung transplant. Tests may include:

Blood Tests/Diagnostic Tests

Before a lung transplant, you must go through a thorough pre-transplant screening. During an evaluation, your doctors and transplant team may review your medical history, conduct a physical examination, and evaluate your mental and emotional health. The medical team will also confirm whether you smoke or use alcohol or drugs. Lung transplant recipients must be nicotine-free for several months before being put on the transplant list.

You also will have tests conducted to determine whether you’re healthy enough for a lung transplant. Tests may include:

Lung function tests

These tests determine how well your lungs are working and can help diagnose certain lung conditions and diseases.

Blood tests

Blood tests help check for certain diseases and the function of your organs. They are also needed to help find a good donor match.

Chest CT scan

This test takes detailed pictures of your lungs and the inside of your chest.

EKG (electrocardiogram)

This test detects and records the heart’s electrical activity such as how quickly your heart is beating and its rhythm.

Echocardiography

This test uses sound waves to create moving pictures of your heart to see how well it is pumping blood.

Risks

The first year after the lung transplant surgery is the most critical. This is when the risk of complications is highest. The main risks or complications of a lung transplant include:

Risks

The first year after the lung transplant surgery is the most critical. This is when the risk of complications is highest. The main risks or complications of a lung transplant include:

Surgical risks

 As with any surgery, complications can occur such as bleeding, blood clots, blockage of arteries or airways, infection, complications from anesthesia, and death.

Transplant rejection

Rejection is a common reaction of the body to a foreign object. When a new lung is transplanted into a recipient’s body, the immune system reacts to it as a threat by attacking the new organ. To reverse rejection, doctors provide immunosuppressive medications to reduce or stop rejection. 

Infection

Immunosuppressive drugs are given to prevent the immune system from rejecting the new lung. However, the medication can make it difficult for the body to fight off infections. This leads to a higher risk of developing dangerous blood, fungal, skin, and respiratory infections. 

Procedure

Before you begin your lung transplant surgery, you will receive general anesthesia. The general anesthesia will put you to sleep so that you do not feel any pain during the surgery. Your healthcare provider will monitor your heart and blood pressure with an electrocardiogram (EKG).

Once you are asleep, your surgeon will make a small incision in your chest. Then they will insert a central venous catheter into a vein. This tube allows easy access to your bloodstream so that fluids and medicines can be transported to your body.  

Next, your doctors will insert a tube in your mouth and down your windpipe to support your breathing. They will also insert a tube in your nose and down to your stomach to drain contents from your stomach. A catheter will be used to keep your bladder empty.

The surgeon will make an incision in your chest to open it. They will cut the main airway to your diseased or injured lung along with the blood vessels that connect to your lung and heart. Then the surgeon will remove your diseased lung and replace it with the donor’s lung. After replacing the organ, the main airway of the donor’s lung along with its blood vessels will be connected to your airway and heart.  

During a double-lung transplant, the surgeon will remove both of your diseased lungs, one at a time, and replace them with the donor’s lungs. A single-lung transplant typically takes 4 to 8 hours. While a double-lung transplant typically takes 6 to 12 hours.

Procedure

Before you begin your lung transplant surgery, you will receive general anesthesia. The general anesthesia will put you to sleep so that you do not feel any pain during the surgery. Your healthcare provider will monitor your heart and blood pressure with an electrocardiogram (EKG).

Once you are asleep, your surgeon will make a small incision in your chest. Then they will insert a central venous catheter into a vein. This tube allows easy access to your bloodstream so that fluids and medicines can be transported to your body.  

Next, your doctors will insert a tube in your mouth and down your windpipe to support your breathing. They will also insert a tube in your nose and down to your stomach to drain contents from your stomach. A catheter will be used to keep your bladder empty.

The surgeon will make an incision in your chest to open it. They will cut the main airway to your diseased or injured lung along with the blood vessels that connect to your lung and heart. Then the surgeon will remove your diseased lung and replace it with the donor’s lung. After replacing the organ, the main airway of the donor’s lung along with its blood vessels will be connected to your airway and heart.  

During a double-lung transplant, the surgeon will remove both of your diseased lungs, one at a time, and replace them with the donor’s lungs. A single-lung transplant typically takes 4 to 8 hours. While a double-lung transplant typically takes 6 to 12 hours.

A man smiling at the camera, he has on a hat, and is sitting in front of a plate of food and a glass of orange juice
A man smiling at the camera, he has on a hat, and is sitting in front of a plate of food and a glass of orange juice

A Lifesaving Double-Lung Transplant Gives Miami Gardens Grandfather a Second Chance at Life

After a Lung Transplant

After lung transplant surgery, you’ll move to an intensive care unit for several days. Your healthcare providers will monitor your overall health and wait for you to wake up. While in the ICU, you will still be equipped with a tube in your windpipe to help you breathe, as well as other tubes to deliver medicines and drain fluids from your body. 

Once your healthcare providers believe it’s safe, you will be moved to the post-transplant unit to continue your recovery. As your body continues to heal, the medical team will teach you how to keep track of your overall health and detect signs of complications. You will work with a respiratory therapist to build strength in your lungs and learn how to check your lung function with a spirometer. You’ll be in the hospital for about 2 weeks after surgery, in some cases, it can be longer. Many individuals return to a good quality of life within three to six months.

After a Lung Transplant

After lung transplant surgery, you’ll move to an intensive care unit for several days. Your healthcare providers will monitor your overall health and wait for you to wake up. While in the ICU, you will still be equipped with a tube in your windpipe to help you breathe, as well as other tubes to deliver medicines and drain fluids from your body. 

Once your healthcare providers believe it’s safe, you will be moved to the post-transplant unit to continue your recovery. As your body continues to heal, the medical team will teach you how to keep track of your overall health and detect signs of complications. You will work with a respiratory therapist to build strength in your lungs and learn how to check your lung function with a spirometer. You’ll be in the hospital for about 2 weeks after surgery, in some cases, it can be longer. Many individuals return to a good quality of life within three to six months.

Results

A lung transplant can improve your quality of life and extend your life expectancy. The outlook for people who have had a lung transplant has improved in recent years and it’s expected to continue improving. By following your post-transplant program, taking care to prevent infections and monitoring your own health, you can continue to live a healthy, fulfilling life for many years to come.

Results

A lung transplant can improve your quality of life and extend your life expectancy. The outlook for people who have had a lung transplant has improved in recent years and it’s expected to continue improving. By following your post-transplant program, taking care to prevent infections and monitoring your own health, you can continue to live a healthy, fulfilling life for many years to come.

Diet and Nutrition

A healthy diet and nutrition play an important role in your recovery after a lung transplant and in your long-term health. Within the first few months after surgery, you need enough calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals to help heal your wounds, rebuild muscle, and allow your body to fully recover. 

Once you have recovered from your transplant surgery, it is important to eat well to keep your new lung healthy and manage the longer-term side effects of your medications. Transplant medications can increase your chance of developing obesity, heart disease, diabetes, bone loss, and high levels of potassium in your blood. Following a healthy diet plan after your lung transplant can help manage these issues. 

A healthy diet includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It also includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, and fat-free or low-fat milk or milk products. A healthy diet is low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium (salt), and added sugars. Your transplant dietitian will work with you to develop a personalized plan and help you understand your dietary needs and restrictions.

Diet and Nutrition

A healthy diet and nutrition play an important role in your recovery after a lung transplant and in your long-term health. Within the first few months after surgery, you need enough calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals to help heal your wounds, rebuild muscle, and allow your body to fully recover. 

Once you have recovered from your transplant surgery, it is important to eat well to keep your new lung healthy and manage the longer-term side effects of your medications. Transplant medications can increase your chance of developing obesity, heart disease, diabetes, bone loss, and high levels of potassium in your blood. Following a healthy diet plan after your lung transplant can help manage these issues. 

A healthy diet includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It also includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, and fat-free or low-fat milk or milk products. A healthy diet is low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium (salt), and added sugars. Your transplant dietitian will work with you to develop a personalized plan and help you understand your dietary needs and restrictions.

Exercise

Exercise is an important part of rehabilitation after your lung transplant and should continue to be a regular part of your life. The transplant team will work with you to design an exercise program that’s right for you. Your exercise program may include warm-up exercises, such as stretching or slow walking. Once your body has recovered from the surgery, your plan may also include aerobic activities, such as brisk walking or bicycling, along with strength training. This will help you improve how well your lungs work after the transplant, maintain a healthy weight, control blood pressure, reduce stress levels, and strengthen your bones. As you become more fit, your body is able to use oxygen more effectively.

Exercise

Exercise is an important part of rehabilitation after your lung transplant and should continue to be a regular part of your life. The transplant team will work with you to design an exercise program that’s right for you. Your exercise program may include warm-up exercises, such as stretching or slow walking. Once your body has recovered from the surgery, your plan may also include aerobic activities, such as brisk walking or bicycling, along with strength training. This will help you improve how well your lungs work after the transplant, maintain a healthy weight, control blood pressure, reduce stress levels, and strengthen your bones. As you become more fit, your body is able to use oxygen more effectively.

Conducting Clinical Trials

As an academic transplant center, we conduct clinical trials and can apply the latest research findings to clinical care. For example, we are able to put donor lungs in respiratory function equipment and test their capability before implanting them into a patient.

These are some of the ways our lung transplant program is saving lives while leading the way into the future.

Conducting Clinical Trials

As an academic transplant center, we conduct clinical trials and can apply the latest research findings to clinical care. For example, we are able to put donor lungs in respiratory function equipment and test their capability before implanting them into a patient.

These are some of the ways our lung transplant program is saving lives while leading the way into the future.

See The Lives We’ve Changed

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