Heart-Lung Transplant
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Heart-Lung Transplant?

This is a surgery to remove a severely diseased and damaged heart and lungs. They are replaced with a healthy heart and lungs from a deceased donor.

The Heart and Lungs
The Heart and Lungs
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

A heart-lung transplant is done if you have:

  • An irreversible, life-threatening lung disease that affects the heart (but are in otherwise good health)—An example of this is severe pulmonary hypertension (an increase in blood pressure in the lung's blood vessels).
  • Have undergone other treatments (eg, surgery, medicine) without success

Possible Complications

If you are planning to have a heart-lung transplant, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Infection
  • Rejection of the donor heart or lungs
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Pneumonia
  • Blood clots
  • Bleeding
  • Decreased brain functioning
  • Damage to other organs, like the kidneys
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Anesthesia-related problems
  • Infection or cancer related to taking immunosuppressive medicines
  • Death

Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Pre-existing heart or lung conditions
  • Age: 60 or older
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Infection
  • Stroke
  • Smoking
  • Continued substance abuse or alcohol abuse
  • Poor circulation *...