Lung transplant recipients have an average survival rate of 80 percent one year after the procedure, according to WebMD. Between 55 and 70 percent of lung transplant recipients survive three years following a lung transplant.
Lung transplant recipients inevitably experience severe health complications because of the immune system's natural rejection of the new organs, observes WebMD. Medications can slow this rejection, but there are no treatments available to stop the process completely. The drugs necessary for the body after this procedure have unavoidable side effects, such as the development of diabetes and kidney damage. At the same time, some health limitations may improve. After the body heals from the procedure itself, a significant increase in the ability to breathe and lead an active lifestyle sometimes occurs.
Signs that the body may be rejecting the transplanted lungs are fever and flu-like symptoms, chest congestion, coughing, shortness of breath, and new pains in or around the lung, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Rejection is most likely to happen within the first six months after the surgery but can occur at any time after that. Lung transplant recipients must take medication to suppress the immune system for the rest of their lives.