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Lung transplantation requires a stay in a hospital. Procedures may vary depending on your condition and your physician's practices. Generally, a lung transplant follows this process:
You will be asked to remove any jewelry and other objects that may interfere with the procedure.
You will be asked to remove clothing and will be given a gown to wear.
An intravenous (IV) line will be started in your arm or hand. Additional catheters will be inserted in your neck and wrist to monitor the status of your heart and blood pressure, as well as for obtaining blood samples. Alternate sites for the additional catheters include the subclavian (under the collarbone) area and the groin.
You will be taken to the operating room and positioned on a table. Your position will depend on the type of procedure to be performed. For a single lung transplant, you will be positioned on the side opposite the side of the transplant. For a bilateral sequential lung transplant, you will be lying on your back with your arms above your head.
A catheter will be inserted into your bladder to drain urine.
Lung transplant surgery will be performed while you are asleep under general anesthesia. A tube will be inserted through your mouth into your lungs. The tube will be attached to a ventilator that will breathe for you during the procedure.
The anesthesiologist will continuously monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, and blood oxygen level during the surgery.
The skin over the surgical site will be cleansed with an antiseptic solution.
The physician will make an incision in the chest. For a single lung transplant, the incision will be made on the side of the lung to be transplanted. For a bilateral sequential transplant, the incision will be made horizontally across the chest below the breasts or vertically in between the breasts.
The diseased lung(s) will be carefully removed and replaced by the donor lung(s). Depending on your underlying lung condition and the type of transplant being performed, you may be placed on a cardiopulmonary bypass machine (heart-lung machine) to maintain circulation and provide oxygen to the body during the procedure.
The new lung's blood vessels and airways will be attached. For a bilateral sequential transplant, the lungs will be attached one at a time.
The incision will be closed with sutures or surgical staples.
A sterile bandage/dressing will be applied to the incision.
One or more chest tubes will be placed in the chest to remove air, fluid, and blood from the surgical site and to allow the new lung(s) to expand fully.
An epidural catheter to infuse pain medication into your back may be inserted before you leave the operating room.