Lung Transplant

What Is It?

In lung transplant surgery, someone with life-threatening respiratory problems is given one or two healthy lungs taken from a person who has died. If one lung is transplanted, the procedure is called a single-lung transplant. If both lungs are transplanted, it is a bilateral or double-lung transplant.

Lungs for transplantation usually come from young, healthy people who have had severe brain damage because of trauma or cardiac arrest (a stopped heart). Their lungs and other organs are maintained with life-support machinery.

Under certain circumstances, two living people can donate small parts of their lungs to one person in desperate need of a transplant. Each person donates one lobe (section) of a lung. This rare use of living donors is done in some cases because of a great shortage of suitable lungs from donors who have died. Entire lungs are never transplanted from a healthy living donor because of the high risk of complications. Living donor lung transplants are very uncommon.

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