Q:

How long do you have to wait for a lung transplant?

A:

Quick Answer

The average waiting period for a lung transplant is typically three to six months, but the wait sometimes takes days or years, according to Cleveland Clinic. The waiting period is longer for people with less common blood and tissue types, as it is harder to find a compatible match.

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Full Answer

Doctors cannot predict how long a patient needs to wait for the availability of a compatible lung, notes Cleveland Clinic. If the donated lung has a problem or the patient has an infection, surgeons may not proceed with the surgery. When the lung transplant is canceled, a patient has to wait for another suitable donor organ.

The donor lung a patient receives must closely match her blood type, tissue type, body size and other physical characteristics, states Cleveland Clinic. The patient’s medical condition, the number of lungs she needs and the period she has been waiting are also factors considered when finding a match for an available lung. A higher blood compatibility between the donor and the recipient often indicates a greater likelihood of having a successful transplant.

While waiting for a lung transplant, patients should maintain a healthy lifestyle, exercise regularly and follow a dietitian’s recommended dietary changes, says Cleveland Clinic. A physical therapist can provide exercise programs to prepare lung transplant candidates for surgery.

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