Waiting for Lung Transplant

Once the transplant team agrees that the patient is a suitable lung transplant candidate, the team will place the candidate’s name on a waiting list for a donor lung. The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) is the national agency that regulates organ transplantation. LifeLink of Georgia facilitates organ donation for the state of Georgia. UNOS, along with LifeLink of Georgia, put the candidate’s name on a national computerized transplant waiting list and helps locate donor organs.

Due to a critical shortage of donor organs, adults can wait up to two years or more before a suitable donor lung is available. Often patients can wait at home during this time.

While lung transplant candidates are waiting, they will continue follow-up care with their referring physicians. However, it is important that we are always aware of any illnesses that occur, so please help make sure the candidate’s transplant coordinator is informed of any illness by faxing us the office notes of all the patient’s visits.

Status on the List

A candidate will be listed as an active status patient on the lung transplant waiting list. When an organ becomes available, the candidate with the greatest number of cumulative days spent waiting and with the proper blood group and body size will receive the donor lung.

The longer candidates are on the list, the more “points” (days on the list) they accumulate. Moving closer to the top of the list makes it more likely that they will be transplanted if a donor lung becomes available.

OPTN policy does allow multiple listings. Multiple listings involves registering at two or more transplant centers in different local areas. If you are considering multiple listing, discuss this with your transplant team to find out how they handle such requests.

Finding a Donor

Every effort will be made to find a donor quickly. The wait for a donor depends on the candidate’s blood type and body size. To find a donor match, we look at two things:

• Candidate and donor must have compatible blood types.
• Candidate and donor must be height-compatible.