Lung Transplant

at one of the nation’s best lung transplant centers

You may be considering lung transplant surgery if end-stage lung disease has severely damaged your lungs. The lung transplant process is a difficult, life-changing experience. However, the entire Duke lung transplant team – our pre- and post-transplant coordinators, our doctors and surgeons, our nutritionists, rehabilitation specialists, psychologists, social workers and counselors – are here to support you through every step of your journey. If you have a strong desire to live, we help you get your life back, unencumbered by lung disease.

Questions to Ask When Selecting a Lung Transplant Program

These questions and our answers can help you evaluate whether our lung transplant center meets your needs.

How many lung transplants has your center performed?

  • We are a high volume lung transplant program and the largest lung transplant program in the Southeast. More than 1,600 lung transplants have been performed at Duke since 1992. Our lung transplant surgeons performed 108 lung transplants in 2015. 

What types of patients receive lung transplants at your center?

  • We routinely perform lung transplantation in patients who live near and far with end-stage lung disease related to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)cystic fibrosispulmonary fibrosispulmonary hypertensionscleroderma, sarcoidosis, alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency and other complex conditions, such as occupational lung diseases and lung disease that results from prior cancer treatments, including bone marrow transplant, radiation and chemotherapy. We are also experienced in performing lung retransplants in people who develop chronic rejection after lung transplant.

What kinds of lung transplants do you perform?

  • We perform both single and double lung transplants. Whether you receive a single or double lung transplant depends on many factors, including your underlying disease, prior chest surgeries, and anticipated difficulty in finding a suitable donor for you.  While the majority of patients receive double lung transplants, our transplant surgeons develop a customized surgical plan for each patient we transplant. 
  • For some patients, a lung transplant alone may not be enough to restore their health.  Our transplant surgeons are  experienced in multi-organ transplants, including heart-lung, lung-liver, lung-kidney transplants and triple transplants of the heart, lungs and liver.

Average Wait Time

Source: Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients

What is the average wait time for a lung transplant?

  • Wait time on our lung transplant list averages about 14 days. The national average is four months. Our short lung transplant wait times are due, in part, to our aggressive and innovative organ-recovery efforts. This approach enables us to procure and successfully transplant more viable organs in more patients who need them. It also eliminates the chance of death while waiting for lung transplant surgery.

How will you help me prepare for lung transplant surgery?

How well do your patients do following the lung transplant procedure?  

  • Lung transplantation is a high-risk procedure, so every effort goes into maximizing your chance of doing well. 
  • We focus on pulmonary rehabilitation and physical fitness because evidence shows that better physical functioning going into transplant improves outcomes. 
  • Our team has also been instrumental in recognizing the importance of mental health on lung transplant outcomes, so our transplant psychologists work closely with you to make sure you are prepared for the emotional and psychological stress of lung transplantation. 
  • We employ aggressive strategies to prevent and treat organ rejection. Our efforts positively impact our lung transplant survival rates and increase your life expectancy after lung transplant.
  • We successfully perform lung transplants in sicker and older patients. As one of the first U.S. centers to perform lung transplants in patients age 65 and older, we have vast experience in this patient population and the challenges faced. In fact, more than 50 percent of lung patients over the age of 65 in the U.S. choose Duke for their lung transplant. We have experience with patients who have complex illnesses, including multi-drug resistant infections, immunologic deficiencies, coronary artery disease, and valvular heart disease.

Does Duke participate in lung transplantation research?

  • Our leadership in lung transplantation research gives you access to the most up-to-date evidence-based practices available.
  • We are dedicated to improving the outcomes of lung transplant recipients and know that research drives progress.  Our researchers have made significant contributions to the field of lung transplantation, notably our understanding of risk factors for chronic rejection, the impact of CMV infection and gastroesophageal reflux on lung transplant outcomes, and the different forms of chronic lung allograft dysfunction.
  • As recipients of a five-year, $13M Clinical Trials in Organ Transplantation (CTOT) grant, we collaborate with four other leading lung transplant centers to advance the understanding of infection and chronic rejection, which affects more than half of lung transplant recipients.
  • We have also been a leader in expanding the donor pool through the use of ex-vivo lung perfusion technology.

The Lung Transplant Process

Lung Transplant Recovery

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