A lung transplant is achieved with a surgical procedure in which the failing lung of the patient is replaced with a healthy lung of a deceased donor. A lung transplant is usually the last resort after all other methods and procedures fail to make an improvement in the patient's health. Depending on the patient's condition one or both the lungs are replaced with healthier ones, in some cases, a heart transplant also takes place with the lung transplant. A variety of disease and conditions are capable of damaging your lung and when the lungs are damaged the oxygen supply is hindered which makes it very difficult to maintain a day to day routine of the person.
A lung transplant is not an easy treatment, it is not everyone and certain things about a patient are suggestive of the fact that he / she is not a good candidate for the transplant. Every patient is examined individually to make the transplant a success. Complications can arise in a lung transplant and it can be fatal for the patient, there are some risks associated with a lung transplant:
1. Rejection – This is one of the major risks in lung transplant. Our immune system defends us against whatever it perceives as a foreign element invading our body. If the immune system perceives the lung as something foreign then it will attack it which can result in a lung failure. This danger is highest after the transplant and reduces with time. Some drugs are given to the patient to prevent this organ rejection.
2. Anti-Rejection Drugs – Medication is given to the patient to prevent this rejection of lungs by the immune system and, there are some cases where these drugs prove to be fatal because of their side effects. These drugs, called “immunosuppressants”, can be usual like weight gain, stomach problems and acne but these can also develop new conditions and can cause blood clots, kidney damage and even cancer.
3. Infection – These anti-rejection drugs, if worked properly, will suppress your immune system which makes you further vulnerable to the infections and not surprisingly this vulnerability is most intense in the lungs. You have to be extra careful to be safe and have to cultivate habits like regularly washing your hands, brushing your teeth and protecting your skin from any scratches.
It is very important that you don't ignore any instruction from your doctor and follow everything strictly for a healthy recovery. Your doctor will instruct you to make some lifestyle choices like eating healthy and quitting smoking and all you have to do is follow them.