Selection Criteria for Lung Transplant Success

Doctors may recommend a transplant for patients with advanced or end-stage lung disease that cannot be treated any other way. Some of these serious lung diseases include:

While medications and other interventions can help many people live with these conditions for a long time, when reduced lung function becomes life-threatening, transplant may be considered a valuable option.

Finding a Match

Once a patient is selected to receive a lung transplant through the UH Lung Transplant Program, their name is placed on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) list. Lung transplant candidates who smoke must quit smoking and be nicotine-free for several months before being put on the UNOS transplant list.

When a donor organ becomes available, the donor-recipient matching system administered by UNOS finds an appropriate match based on specific criteria, such as:

  • Blood type of donor and recipient
  • Size of donor lung(s) compared with size of the recipient’s chest cavity
  • Prospective or actual cross match to minimize chances of lung rejection
  • Distance and time for traveling from the donor to the recipient hospital
  • Lung allocation score (based on medical urgency, not length of time on the wait list)
  • Recipient's overall health