What Happens During a Lung Transplant?


Quick Answer

John Hopkins Medicine explains that during a lung transplant, the patient's diseased lungs are removed during a surgical procedure and replaced with the healthy lungs of a deceased individual. The majority of these organs come from organ donors.

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Full Answer

According to WebMD, when a suitable donor's lungs become available, the transplant recipient is quickly called into the transplant center. The recipient is then prepared for surgery, which includes the removal of all jewelry, clothing and the starting of an IV, according to John Hopkins Medicine. While the patient is being prepared, surgeons examine the donor lungs to ensure that they are suitable for transplant, according to WebMD. If the donor organs are suitable, surgery begins immediately. Surgery starts by administering general anesthesia to the recipient, which ensures complete unconsciousness throughout the procedure. Then, a large incision is made on the side for a single lung or across the front of the chest for both lungs. The diseased lungs are then carefully removed, and the healthy lungs are inserted and connected to the recipient. During this procedure, the recipient may be placed on cardiopulmonary bypass, in which a machine takes over the duties of oxygenating the recipient's blood. After attachment, the incision is closed and the recipient is taken to recovery, where the patient is closely monitored for 14 days or longer to ensure success.

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