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The surgical process of lung transplant

When having a lung transplant, you will be matched to the most suitable donor for you according to size and blood type criteria.

Your organ exchange organization (international, national, or regional organ bank) will notify your hospital when an appropriate donor is available for you.

After this call is made, you should follow the procedure your hospital and your lung transplant team have in place (Present to the emergency department, to the transplant clinic…).

All the blood work needed for surgery, as well as Anesthesiology and Surgical Team re- evaluation would take place at this point and you would be wheeled to the operating room for surgical preparation.


Depending on the type of transplant you are going to receive, the surgical incisions can change. The most commonly used incisions for lung transplants are thoracotomy, clamshell or sternotomy, depending on the type of transplant and your team preferences.

As the lung is not only connected to the airway, but also to pulmonary veins and arteries, a circulatory support system, either cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) maybe used by your team according to your needs.

Once surgery is finished, you would be transferred to intensive care unit, where the initial postoperative support needed (Ventilatory and circulatory) would be weaned off as you tolerate it.

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