Lung Transplantation

Lung transplantation involves a complex surgery which replaces one or both of your damaged lungs with healthy donor lung(s).

There are five lung transplant centres in Canada. A rigorous assessment process is used to determine who is eligible for a lung transplant.

Currently a lung transplant is the only effective cure for pulmonary fibrosis (PF). At some stage in your lung disease, you may be considered for lung transplantation. Not everyone with PF will need a lung transplant. There are also many reasons you may NOT qualify for a lung transplant, or choose to decline this option for yourself. It is a serious and complicated decision you will make with your medical team.

How To Qualify for a Lung Transplant

To be considered for a lung transplant…
  • You must be informed and willing to accept the risks associated with surgery.
  • You must be physically capable of undergoing surgery, subsequent medical treatment and rehabilitation.
  • You must have a committed support person to help you through the process.

Your physical and mental health will be thoroughly evaluated by a team of health care professionals to determine your eligibility to go on the wait list for a lung transplant.

Due to the progressive nature of PF and the potentially long wait period for a transplant, you should discuss the possibility of a lung transplant with your doctor and seek a referral to your local Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) clinic or transplant unit soon after being diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis.

Dr. consulting with a happy patient
Patient asking doctor questions about lung transplant

Questions to Ask When Considering Transplantation

  • What are my choices besides transplantation?
  • What are the risks and benefits of transplantation?
  • What does the evaluation and testing process involve?
  • Who will perform my surgery?
  • What factors will affect my position on the waitlist and the wait time?
  • Can I be listed in more than one region?

The criteria for receiving a lung transplant are constantly changing, so you may want to ask for a transplant assessment several times. And, improved medications and treatments for transplant patients are constantly improving the outcomes.

Lung Transplant Manuals and Guides

Western University Logo
Manual for PF Patients Awaiting Transplant

Dr. Marco Mura, staff respirologist, Western University and London Health Science Centre, has written a manual in lay language to help pulmonary fibrosis patients and their caregivers, navigate the transition of care as they await a lung transplant. It is titled: “Transition of care for pulmonary fibrosis patients candidate for lung transplant. An educational manual for patients and caregivers.” Read the manual.

Manual for Lung Transplant Patients (UHN)

The University Health Network (UHN) in Toronto has developed a comprehensive manual for patients undergoing a lung transplant. You can download it here.

University Health Network Logo
UHN Toronto General Hospital
A Guide to Lung Transplants for Families and Support People

UHN has also developed a manual for those who will be supporting the transplant patient, physically and emotionally, through the transplant process. Called “Catch your Breath!” you can download it here.

Other Lung Transplant Resources

University of Alberta Hospital
8440 – 112th St.
Edmonton, AB T6G 2B7

Vancouver Hospital & Health Sciences Centre
855 W 12th St.
Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre
820 Sherbrook Street
Winnipeg, MB R2C 0A1

Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal
1560 rue Sherbrooke Est.
Montréal QC H2L 4M1

UHN Multi-Organ Transplant Program – Toronto General Hospital
190 Elizabeth Street
Toronto, ON M5G 2C4
416-340-3131 (main)

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