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.

  • Call Your Doctor

    After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

    • Signs of infection, including fever and chills—You are at increased risk for infection because of the immunosuppressive drugs.
    • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the incision site
    • Cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, or severe nausea or vomiting
    • Increased sputum (phlegm) production
    • Coughing up blood
    • Waking up at night due to being short of breath
    • Sudden headache or feeling faint
    • Changes in weight or blood pressure
    • Chest pain or sensation of your heart fluttering, missing beats, or beating erratically
    • Pain, burning, urgency, frequency of urination, or persistent bleeding in the urine
    • Excessive tiredness or swelling of feet

    In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.

  • Definition

    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
    Nucleus factsheet image
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • What to Expect

  • Reasons for Procedure

    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 (such as, 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:

    • Preexisting 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
    • Autoimmune disease

    Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the procedure.