Lung Transplant Program
King Faisal Specialist and Research Center Lung Transplant Program is a top-ranked program Led by highly experienced professionals who are deeply passionate about the complex care required to treat patients for Lung transplantation in Saudi Arabia. The lung transplant program at The King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research center started in 1998 and is the only center in Saudi Arabia and GCC, currently performing more than 30 lung transplants.
Overview – What is a lung transplant?
A lung transplant is a surgical procedure to replace a diseased or failing lung with a healthy lung, usually from a deceased donor. A lung transplant is reserved for people who have tried other medications or treatments, but their conditions haven't sufficiently improved.
Who are the candidates for Lung transplant?
Unhealthy or damaged lungs can make it difficult for your body to get the oxygen it needs to survive. A variety of diseases and conditions can damage your lungs and hinder their ability to function effectively, including:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema
- Scarring of the lungs (pulmonary fibrosis)
- Cystic fibrosis
- Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Severe bronchiectasis
Lung damage can often be treated with medication or with special breathing devices. But when these measures no longer help, or your lung function becomes life-threatening, your doctor might suggest a single-lung transplant or a double-lung transplant.
Am I eligible for a Lung transplant?
To determine if you are eligible for transplant, you must first have a transplant evaluation. This critical step helps decide whether transplantation is the correct course of action for your health. During the evaluation, you will meet with several members of the transplant team, including physicians, surgeons, social, nutrition, psychology, and many more. You will also meet your transplant coordinator, who will guide you through the evaluation process. During your evaluation you will be required to complete a set of tests and consultations. Once you have completed your evaluation, your health status and history will be presented to the transplant committee. Candidates who are at high risk and or will not benefit from transplant will be considered not legible.
Factors that may affect your eligibility for a lung transplant:
A lung transplant isn't the right treatment for everyone. Certain factors may mean you're not a good candidate for a lung transplant. While each case is considered individually by a transplant center, a lung transplant may not be appropriate if you:
- Have an active infection
- Have a recent personal medical history of cancer
- Have serious diseases such as kidney, liver or heart diseases
- Are unwilling or unable to make lifestyle changes necessary to keep your donor lung healthy, such as not drinking alcohol or not smoking
- Do not have a supportive network of family and friends
What to expect after workup:
- Once a detailed medical report is reviewed by the lung transplant team you are given an appointment to see a lung transplant physician.
- You will be scheduled a series of tests that includes X rays, CT scans, ultrasound, evaluation of heart including cardiac catheterization if indicated. You will be also seen by multiple other doctors of the lung transplant team.
- Once the evaluation is complete you are presented to the lung transplant committee to decide if lung transplantation is the best option for you. If you are accepted by the committee, you are placed on the waiting list.
- If you're on the waiting list, the transplant center will need to contact you at short notice as soon as organs become available for transplantation, so you must inform your Coordinator if there are any changes to your contact details.
The length of time you wait depends on:
- Blood group
- donor availability
- How many other patients are on the list and how urgent their cases are
After a Lung Transplant:
- After the transplant you go to the ICU.
- Usually require a 1-3 day on mechanical ventilator.
- After that you are transferred to the ward and stay in the hospital for 2-4 weeks depending on the speed of your recovery.
- You are given medications to prevent rejection of the new lungs by your immune system and to protect you from infections.
- Once discharged you are given a regular follow up in the outpatient settings.
- You will also undergo periodic bronchoscopies to evaluate your new lungs for any rejection or infection.
- It is critical that you take your medications regularly and comply with your follow up appointments.
- Stay near Riyadh/close to the hospital for 8 to 12 weeks after the surgery.