HEART AND LUNG TRANSPLANT
India’s leading institute for heart and lung transplant supported by clinical credibility and legacy spanning generations of healthcaring
The lungs are a pair of spongy, air-filled organs located on either side of the chest. Our lungs are tasked with the vital job of providing oxygen that the body needs and removing the carbon dioxide that is toxic to the body.
While our lungs work normally, we are rarely aware of our breathing but when our lungs are forced to work harder to supply oxygen and eliminate the carbon dioxide, we feel shortness of breath. This requires the body to spend extra energy on breathing and may cause constant fatigue, which diminishes one’s quality of life. If the lungs get damaged beyond a point when even extra oxygen and other therapies fail, a lung transplant becomes the final treatment
option to experience a normal lifestyle.
A number of diseases and conditions can cause the lungs to become unhealthy and result in deterioration over time. These include:
One may require either a single lung transplant or a double/bilateral lung transplant) and, in certain cases, a combined heart and lung transplant.
Once a patient is accepted as a candidate for lung transplant, they will be placed on the waiting list for a new organ. During this waiting period, the following will be done:
While on the waiting list, the patient and members of their immediate family will be
Lung transplantation has the potential to lengthen life expectancy and substantially improve one’s quality of life. The first year after a lung transplant is the most crucial as this is when surgical complications, organ rejection and infections pose the greatest threat to survival. This is why following the post-transplant instructions given by the transplant surgeon about taking the necessary medication regularly and following hygiene protocols is important.
Patients who survive the first year can easily survive 5 years or longer after transplantation. The primary goal is to achieve improved lung function, live a better quality of life and experience a relatively normal lifestyle.
While there are many benefits, there are also risks that accompany major surgical procedures like lung transplantation:
A common medication prescribed post-transplant is an immunosuppressant. As the transplanted lung(s) is foreign to the body, it is natural for the body’s immune system to fight against it, resulting in organ rejection. To prevent this, the immune system is suppressed to control the rejection process. Signs of rejection include:
The downside to taking immunosuppressants is that the immune system will be less capable of fighting off infections, thereby making the patient more susceptible to infectious diseases. To prevent this, the immunosuppression is balanced with anti-infective prophylaxis.
Post-transplant, the patient is first shifted to the Transplant ICU for close monitoring by specialist transplant nurses. The patient might be put on a mechanical ventilator for a few days to help them breathe. Once the patient’s conditions improve, they are taken off the ventilator and transferred to the ward, where they will remain for another one to three weeks.
Once discharged, frequent monitoring by the transplant team is required. The patient will be instructed not to lift anything greater than 5 kg for the first six weeks after surgery and not participate in strenuous activity. Pulmonary rehabilitation therapy will be prescribed twice a week. Follow-up visits will include lab tests, chest X-ray, pulmonary function tests and ECG.
Being faced with unknown symptoms post-transplant can be overwhelming for both the patient and their family. Before the patient is discharged from the hospital and during every follow-up visit, they will be trained on what signs to look out for by the transplant nurses. Medical attention should be sought out for the following reasons:
With over 30 years of interest, experience and continued research in end-stage heart failure management (heart transplant & mechanical circulatory support devices), paediatric cardiac surgery, congestive heart failure and lung transplant, India’s heart and lung transplant programme has been pioneered by Dr Balakrishnan. The advanced technology, infrastructure and equipment available at MGM Healthcare, combined with skilled physicians and surgeons, provides improved diagnosis, care, treatment and outcomes.Consult Us
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Know more about outpatient consultation, preparing for a surgery, admissions, billing and insurance and discharge process here.