Before a Lung Transplant
Referral to UVA
The transplant process begins with either:
- A referral by your family doctor or pulmonologist
- You can initiate the process by contacting our referral coordinator
The coordinator will collect basic medical information; then a financial counselor will contact you to provide advice on basic financial questions and begin contact with relevant insurers.
Get started: Call the referral coordinator at 800.257.0757
The Evaluation Process
We believe all other medical therapies should be considered before transplant. Patients with the following problems usually don’t qualify for a lung transplant:
- Severe debilitation or ventilator dependence
- Severe renal, liver or cardiac disease
- Active tobacco use (including smoking, chewing, snuff, etc.)
- Active alcohol or drug abuse (last 6 months)
- Inability to follow a complicated medical regimen
- Active hepatitis infection
- Active cancer
- Obesity (Body Mass Index (BMI) > 30)
Patients go through an evaluation to assess their need for a transplant. This includes several visits and tests, including lung function tests, exercise tests, chest X-rays, ventilation scans, chest CAT scans and more. The entire process may take some weeks.
Lung Transplant Team Review
After the evaluation process, the transplant team reviews your evaluation to consider your eligibility for placement on the national waiting list. We will also recommend a treatment plan for your continued care.
Waiting for a Lung
The wait list for transplant organs is managed nationwide by a federally regulated, non-profit organization called the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). UNOS uses a complex set of factors to ensure a fair distribution of organs.
Lungs at UVA are obtained through LifeNet, Virginia's organ procurement organization, or through UNOS. Lungs are offered to the first person on the list within a reachable geographic area and according to each patient’s Lung Allocation Score (LAS), which is calculated using medical information including lab values, test results and disease diagnosis.
The average waiting time varies by LAS score, from a few weeks to several years.
Learn about what to expect from lung transplant surgery.
Self-Care While Waiting
We encourage patients to participate in a Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program. It can help improve your quality of life before transplant and speed your recovery after surgery.
We also sponsor a monthly Heart and Lung Transplant Support Group, open to patients, family members and friends.
When: The fourth Thursday of every month, 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
For more information, contact us at 800.257.0757.