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Transplant Candidacy & Procedures

Patients who are approved for lung transplant at UNC will be contacted by our Transplant Coordinator, who helps with the necessary arrangements for the patient's admission during the transplant process.

Lung transplantation may be indicated for children and adults with end-stage pulmonary parenchymal (lung tissue) or vascular disease and a life expectancy of less than 24 months. Patients with end-stage lung disease that doesn’t respond to medical therapies are the best candidates for lung transplantation if:

  • They are less than 65 years old
  • They have no other serious non-pulmonary diseases or active infections (such as HIV and hepatitis)
  • They are strong enough to undertake the lengthy surgery and long recovery time
  • Most commonly, double-lung transplant patients have the following conditions:

    • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
    • Bronchiectasis
    • COPD/Emphysema
    • Primary Pulmonary Hypertension
    • Cystic Fibrosis
    • Certain end-stage lung diseases

    The UNC Center for Transplant Care follows the latest listing criteria determined by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), as well as stringent international guidelines established by:

    • The American Society of Transplant Physicians
    • The American Thoracic Society
    • The European Respiratory Society
    • The International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation

    Patients approved as transplant candidates are listed with UNOS, which operates the national Organ Procurement and Transplant Network (OPTN).

    To ensure continued compliance with specific health criteria necessary for transplantation, clinicians at our pre-transplant clinic closely monitor candidates’ ongoing health with their referring physicians. For those who choose to relocate to Chapel Hill for rehabilitation prior to transplant, the transplant office helps coordinate intermediate care. Transplant coordinators can also help families of transplant patients locate affordable accommodations during their stay.