A lung transplant is an operation to remove and replace a diseased lung with a healthy human lung from a donor.
A donor is usually a person who's died, but in rare cases a section of lung can be taken from a living donor.
Lung transplants aren't carried out frequently in the UK. This is mainly because ofthe lack of available donors. In England, during 2013-14, 198 lung transplants were carried out.
A lung transplant will often be recommended if:
Conditions that can be treated with a lung transplant include:
There are three main types of lung transplant:
The demand for lung transplants is far greater than the available supply of donated lungs. Therefore, a transplant will only be carried out if it's thought there's a relatively good chance of it being successful.
For example, a lung transplant wouldn't be recommended for someone with lung cancer because the cancer could reoccur in the donated lungs.
You also won't be considered for a lung transplant if you smoke.
It's possible for a person to receive a lung transplant from living donors (two living donors are usually required for one recipient). However, lung transplants from living donors are currently rare in the UK.
During this type of lung transplant, the lower lobe of the right lung is removed from one donor, and the lower lobe of the left lung is removed from the other donor. Both lungs are removed from the recipient and replaced with the lung implants from the donors in a single operation.
Most people who receive lung transplants from living donors have cystic fibrosis and are close relatives of the donors. The recipient anddonors need to be compatible in size and have matching blood groups .
Before being placed on the transplant list you'll need to havesome tests to make sure your other major organs, such as your heart, kidneys and liver, will function properly after the transplant.
You may also need to make lifestyle changes, such as giving up smoking and losing weight (if you're overweight), so that you're as healthy as possible when it's time for the transplant to take place.
Depending on your individual circumstances, you may be connected to aheart and lung bypass machine to keep your blood circulating during the operation.
The donated lungs will then be connected to the relevant airways and blood vessels and the chest will be closed.
It could be quite a while before you're able to return to work so you'll need to make necessary arrangements with your employer.
As a result of this, a medication known as an immunosuppressive is given to dampen the effects of the immune system, reducing the risk of rejection. However, taking immunosuppressives carries its own risks as they increase the chances of infection.
There have alsobeen reports of some people living for 20 years or more after a lung transplant.
Although complications can occur at any time, a serious complication is most likely to occur in the first year after the transplant.
Find out about lung transplants, including when one is needed, the different types of transplant, what the procedure involves and the associated risks.
If a lung transplant is thought to be an option for you, you will be referred for a transplant assessment.
Find out what happens during a lung transplant and read about new surgical techniques.
Some complications of a lung transplant are related to the procedure itself. Others occur as a result of having to take immunosuppressive medication.
Read about recovering from a lung transplant, including information about follow-up appointments, immunosuppressant therapy and preventing infection.
Born with cystic fibrosis, Sammi Sparke is now embarking on a new life thanks to an organ donor who gave her a new set of lungs and her father's donation of a kidney.