Heart-and-lung transplant is surgery to replace a diseased heart and lungs with a healthy heart and lungs from a human donor.
Transplant - heart and lungs
Heart-and-lung transplant operations have been performed since 1980 in the United States. Since 1995, between 30 and 70 heart-lung transplants are performed each year, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).
The donated heart and lungs are from a person who has been declared brain-dead, but remains on life-support. Tissue matching helps find the best match of donated organs to the patient.
While the patient is deep asleep with general anesthesia, a cut is made through the breast bone. A heart-lung bypass machine takes over the circulating of the blood, and maintains oxygen levels to the body.
The patient's heart and lungs are removed, and the donor heart and lungs are stitched into place. The heart-lung bypass machine is disconnected. The blood flows through the donor heart and air flows in and out of the donor lungs.
Heart-lung transplant may be recommended for patients with:
- Severely diseased lungs, such as with
primary pulmonary hypertension
- Severely damaged heart
Heart-and-lung transplants are not recommended for patients who have poor kidney or liver function,
Review Date: 08/11/2005
Reviewed By: Joseph P. Hart, M.D., Marco Polo Traveling Fellow c/o Department of Vascular Surgery, A. Z. St. Blasius Hospital (Belgium). Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.