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Lung Transplant

Before Lung Transplant

A full spectrum of lung care is available around the clock to support patients during every phase of transplant. At Barnes-Jewish Hospital, transplant candidates and their families receive the one-on-one attention necessary to help them prepare physically, emotionally and financially for the major issues involved in transplantation.

The evaluation process
Assigned coordinators
Waiting list
Lodging information
Insurance

The evaluation

Each patient considering lung transplant will have a comprehensive evaluation by all members of our lung transplant team. The transplant evaluation includes a transplant pulmonologist, transplant surgeon, nurse coordinator, dietitian, anesthesiologist, psychologist, social worker, and financial coordinator.

Part of the evaluation process includes several tests, which are done in one convenient location at the Center for Advanced Medicine on the campus of Barnes-Jewish Hospital. However, the tests may require more than one visit to Barnes-Jewish Hospital. These tests may include:

  • Blood tests
  • Chest X-ray
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG)
  • CT scan
  • Pulmonary function test
  • Heart catheterization
  • Lung ventilation/perfusion scan
  • RVG (heart) scan

Based on your thorough evaluation, your doctors will determine if you are a candidate for a lung transplant.

Assigned coordinators

From the moment you begin the transplant process at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, you are assigned a lung transplant nurse coordinator. These nurses are available to you 24 hours a day in emergency situations before and after transplant. Your nurse coordinator will work closely with you and will be very familiar with your health status throughout the transplant process.

Waiting list

Once you become a lung transplant candidate, you will be placed on a transplant waiting list through the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).  UNOS assists with the matching, transporting and sharing of organs throughout the U.S. This national list prioritizes organ allocation on the basis of the severity of illness, blood type and geographic location.

Waiting times vary for many reasons. Currently, there are nearly 3,100 people in the United States waiting for lungs. The shortage of organ donors causes most patients to wait for a transplant. The length of time a patient spends on a waiting list depends on many factors including:

  • blood type
  • tissue type
  • height and weight of transplant candidate
  • size of donated organ
  • medical urgency
  • time on the waiting list
  • distance between the donor's hospital and the potential donor organ recipient

One of our goals through our transplant program is to keep patients home while they're waiting for transplant through specialized treatments, when possible. This makes the waiting time less disruptive to the patient's life.

We understand the wait for a transplant can be a frustrating and sometimes discouraging time. Support groups can help by connecting you with others who are experiencing similar circumstances. Our social workers and financial counselors can also help you through any social or economic issues you're facing as you wait for transplant.

Pulmonary rehabilitation

Patients waiting for a lung transplant at Barnes-Jewish Hospital are encouraged to attend regular pulmonary rehabilitation sessions  - daily, if possible. Studies have shown that these sessions are an important part of keeping patients in the best physical condition possible, making them more likely to survive surgery and to recover more quickly.

Patients living in St. Louis can come to pulmonary rehab sessions at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Patients living outside of the area may be able to set up sessions at a rehab center near their home. 

Lodging information

Barnes-Jewish Hospital offers many convenient lodging options for our patients, whether before or after transplant. Both on-campus and off-campus accommodations are available. Some off-campus hotels and apartments offer special rates for Barnes-Jewish Hospital patients. In addition, some lodging expenses related to the transplant are covered by insurance. Call your insurance company to find out more or talk to one of our experienced financial counselors.

For off-campus lodging options and assistance and to receive extra special rates, please talk with our social worker.

Insurance

The Barnes-Jewish Hospital Transplant Program accepts most insurance plans. However, insurance companies periodically change their coverage. Please verify your insurance coverage with your provider. Once you have started the evaluation process, one of our financial counselors who specialize in transplant coverage will be able to assist you with insurance issues.

For more information on the lung transplant program at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, call . 

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