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Early referrals to transplant can help lung disease patients
November 5, 2021
Unhealthy or damaged lungs can make it difficult for the body to get the oxygen it needs to survive. A variety of diseases or conditions can damage the lungs and hinder their ability to function effectively. When lung disease doesn't respond to medical therapy, a lung transplant may be needed.
A lung transplant is a surgical procedure to replace a diseased or failing lung with a healthy lung, usually from a deceased donor. Depending on your medical condition, a lung transplant may involve replacing one or both of your lungs. In some situations, the lungs may be transplanted along with a donor heart.
For patients with diseases that damage the lungs, an early referral to a transplant center is an important step.
"If you have a disease that you think could merit or benefit from lung transplant, it's extremely important to talk to your physician early in the process," says Dr. Tathagat Narula, a Mayo Clinic transplant medicine physician. "The physician can refer you to a transplant center, where you can receive a complete evaluation. There's nothing wrong in getting established with a transplant center relatively early in the process of your lung disease. "
On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Narula discusses evaluation for lung transplant and research working to make more lungs available to those on the transplant waitlist.