The Lung Transplant Operation & Post-Operative Stay

Your operation often begins before the donor lung arrives at the hospital. The diseased lung is totally removed only after the donor lung arrives in the operating room and has been examined by your transplant surgeon.

Three connections, called anastomoses, attach the new lung. First, the main airway,or bronchus, is sewed in place. Next, the blood vessels are attached. Once all the connections are made, the new lung is filled with air. Any excess bleeding is stopped, two chest tubes are placed, and your chest is closed. Small, metal staples are used to close the skin and a large Band-Aid is put over the incision.The whole operation can take six to ten hours.

Post-operative Hospital Stay

You can expect to remain in the hospital for two to three weeks after your surgery. However, sometimes you may have to be hospitalized longer. The first few days will be spent in the cardiothoracic ICU. There you will be closely monitored and frequently assessed for any potential complications that may develop. You will be assisted in getting out of bed and may begin to walk short distances. Once you have progressed sufficiently you will then be transferred to a surgical floor where you will be cared for by surgical nurses specially trained in caring for transplant patients.

The transplant team, including your transplant surgeon and transplant pulmonologist, will see you on a daily basis while you are in the hospital.As your condition progresses and you are stronger, the transplant coordinator will begin to teach you and your caregivers how to care for you at home. Education will cover medications, diet, exercise and what symptoms to report to the transplant team. All people who will participate in your care are expected to attend these educational sessions.

You will be discharged once you have demonstrated good understanding of the teaching and you are medically stable to care for yourself at home with the assistance of your caregivers.

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