Lung Transplant Evaluation, Allocation, Scoring & Matching

The purpose of the lung transplant evaluation is to determine whether you are a candidate for lung transplant. Your evaluation for a lung transplant will betailored depending on your diagnosis. Tests done during your evaluation may differ from tests done for another patient. Most patients will have an evaluation schedule similar to the one described below.

Lung transplant evaluations are generally done on an outpatient basis. Plan to spend two or three nights near the hospital you go to. The evaluation is a busy time. Plan to bring a caregiver with you, as you will be tired at the end of the day and your caregiver needs to learn about the process as well.

The evaluation usually begins early in the morning. During your evaluation you can expect to have the following tests:

  • Pulmonary function tests
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Chest X-ray
  • Bone density scan (QDR)
  • Echocardiogram
  • Lung perfusion scan
  • Blood draw

The bone density scan is a special X-ray that evaluates your risk for bone loss and fractures after transplant. An echocardiogram is a sound wave picture of your heart. A lung perfusion scan is a tracing medicine study: a small amount of special dye is put into your vein and then pictures are taken of your lungs. Thiss can evaluates which lung receives most of the blood flow.

The social worker, psychologist, pulmonologist, surgeon, transplant financial counselor and transplant coordinator will meet with you in the hospital. This is a good time to ask questions about transplant. Take a list of questions with you so that they may address all of your concerns. You may want to take notes on their answers so that you can remember better when you go home.

You will go home before we have the results from most of these tests. In most cases, the transplant team will not be able to tell you whether or not you are a good candidate for transplant before you go home. When a decision is made,the transplant coordinator will contact you.

While you are waiting to hear from the transplant team, you should talk to your family about what you learned during your stay in hospital. Lung transplantation is a big step. Please think about whether this is the right step for you and your family.

Lung Allocation Score & Matching

Once the transplant team has decided that a lung transplant is a good option for you, they will contact you and ask if you wish to be listed. Every lung transplant candidate receives an individualized lung allocation score. The score is an important factor in determining priority for receiving a lung transplant when donor lungs become available. The lung allocation score represents an estimate of the severity of candidate’s illness and their chance of success following a lung transplant. A candidate with a higher score will receive higher priority for a lung offer when a compatible lung becomes available. Other important factors that are considered are blood type and size of both donor and recipient.
Matching donors and recipients is a complex process. There is a centralized list kept by most hospitals. If you are in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra or Karnataka where there is an organized system of organ donation, the chances of receiving an organ are much higher. When a donor becomes available, electronic notification of potential recipients for that donor is sent to your transplant team.This notification is made based on the lung allocation score, matching blood type, size, and several other parameters.

Related Links
Lung Transplant
Reasons For Transplant
Waiting For An Organ Donor
Getting The Call
The Lung Transplant Operation & Post-Operative Stay
Living With New Lungs – Rejections & Infections
Things You MUST Know After a Lung Transplant
Clinic Visits & Studies