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Getting a Lung Transplant for COPD: Is It Right for Me?

18 Oct 2016
| Under Lung Transplant, Treatments | Posted by | 10 Comments
Getting a Lung Transplant for COPD: Is It Right for Me?

A lung transplant may not be for everyone, but is it right for you?

When considering whether or not to receive a lung transplant, it’s important to know all the facts. For those living with chronic lung disease like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), finding an alternative method of treatment can be all-encompassing, as traditional treatment options such as inhalers, corticosteroids and oxygen therapy can only alleviate symptoms of lung disease rather than address the disease’s progression. Although a lung transplant can lead to a tremendous improvement in quality of life in the short term, the treatment option is notoriously expensive and not without its issues.

With your health in mind, the Lung Institute is here to breakdown the key facts behind Getting a Lung Transplant for COPD: Is It Right for Me?

What Is a Lung Transplant?

In the simplest terms, a lung transplant is a procedure replacing your lung(s) with one (or a set) that are donated. However, there are many steps involved in order to receive a transplant. First…

  • A doctor will refer you to a regional transplant center
  • You’ll meet with staff, doctors, social workers and psychologists to collect medical and personal information from you. This will be used to determine your candidacy for treatment.
    • Disqualifying factors will be significant heart, liver or kidney disease; current smoking, alcohol or drug abuse; ongoing infections; or cancer.
  • Once these factors have been accounted for and the patient has been approved as a transplant recipient candidate, they will be added to both a regional and national registry.
  • When a set of lungs become available, you will be called to a transplant center to prepare for the surgery.

Although the process for receiving a donor lung is a long and arduous process, it is possible. Now that you know what are the general steps are to receiving a lung transplant, the next question becomes…

How Will a Lung Transplant Affect Me?

For many seeking a lung transplant, the benefits of a successful surgery are all too alluring. As perhaps one of the most effective methods of treatment for chronic lung disease, a lung transplant has shown the ability to bring back easier breathing, improved short-term quality of life and to provide years of life and longevity. After surgery, 80% of patients have reported they’ve seen no limitations in their physical activity. For those who’ve survived five years or more, 40% have continued to work at least part time.

However, as a last-resort alternative for patients with severe lung disease, a lung transplant is a serious surgery, inherent with a variety of risks and downsides. For starters, complications from a lung transplant are inevitable, meaning it’s just a matter of time before the body begins to reject the new organ. Currently, the lungs hold one of the highest rates of organ rejection among transplant recipients, meaning that a lifetime of immunosuppressive medication is an absolute necessity upon receiving a transplant. And unfortunately, the side-effects of these immunosuppressive drugs can cause a litany of long-term health issues such as diabetes, kidney damage, and vulnerability to new infections and illnesses.

Getting a Lung Transplant for COPD: Is It Right for Me?

Alternative Options in Stem Cell Therapy

Though a lung transplant has its benefits and drawbacks, the biggest obstacle for many seeking a transplant can be time (spent on a waiting list) as well as money. The cost of a lung transplant can be enormous, with beginning estimates starting at $735,000 for surgery and the first year of medication. Although this can be a mitigating factor for many, there is hope. Stem cell therapy is an alternative treatment option which uses the body’s natural healing mechanisms (stem cells) to promote internal repair. When introduced into the body of patients with chronic lung disease, stem cell therapy has shown the ability to reduce inflammation and ease breathing. The benefit of stem cell therapy–particularly in comparison to more traditional forms of treatment (inhalers, corticosteroids, and oxygen therapy)–is that stem cell therapy works to address not only symptoms but disease progression as whole.

Moving Forward…

It’s important to consider any and all options (including lung transplant) on the path to better health. Although COPD can seem insurmountable, the first step to living a longer life is finding a treatment that addresses the disease head-on. Changing one’s diet and consistently exercising are among the best lifestyle changes one can do aside from quitting smoking. However, if you’re looking to address COPD progression directly, it may be time to consider stem cell therapy. Rather than only addressing the symptoms of lung disease, stem cell therapy directly affects disease progression and can improve quality of life and pulmonary function. For people with lung disease, a change in quality of life could mean the difference between struggling to walk to the mailbox and riding a bike.

If you or a loved one suffers from a chronic disease like ILD, COPD, pulmonary fibrosis or other symptoms of lung disease, the Lung Institute may be able to help with a variety of adult stem cell treatment options. Contact us today at (800) 729-3065 to see if you qualify for stem cell therapy, and find out what stem cell therapy could mean for you.

Interested in our article on Getting a Lung Transplant for COPD: Is It Right for Me? Share your thoughts and comments below.


  1. Lung Institute

    4 weeks ago


    Unfortunately, we do not make any medical diagnosis regarding different types of treatments. We treat people who have been diagnosed with a lung disease. You will need to talk with your primary doctor or specialist to get their opinion. They are more familiar with your specific situation and condition.

    In the meantime, you can learn more about stem cell treatment options and have your questions answered by one of our patient coordinators. Feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 for more information. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


    The Lung Institute

  2. Joanna

    4 weeks ago

    Hi, I am stage 4 copd on oxygen. I also have stage 2 kidney disease. Im 63 yrs old. My doc wants me to see if I can qualify for a lung transplant. Will having any stage of kidney disease prohibit me from qualifying for a transplant? Thank you

  3. Lung Institute

    3 months ago


    We are very sorry to hear about your condition. A lung transplant is a very invasive treatment with a long recovery time. A lung transplant is an effective treatment for a disease that has destroyed most of the lungs’ function. For people with severe lung disease, a transplant can bring back easier breathing and provide years of life. However, lung transplant surgery has major risks and complications are common.

    Our treatments are minimally invasive and 84 percent of our patients report an improved quality of life within three months of treatment. Our team has a wealth of knowledge about stem cells, treatment, candidacy and cost. We’re happy to answer your questions. Feel free to give us a call at (855) 313-1149 to speak one-on-one with our dedicated medical team. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


    The Lung Institute

  4. Elise Walker

    3 months ago

    I. Am in a severe stage of copd ! I am 54 years old an I would like to know if stem cell is rite for me instead of lung transplant???

  5. Lung Institute

    7 months ago


    We are sorry to hear about your situation. It would be something you should discuss with your doctor regarding a lung transplant. We did write a blog about lung transplants recently. Here is a link.

    If you are interested in our stem cell therapy, we have a dedicated medical team who have a wealth of knowledge about stem cells, treatment options, candidacy, cost and more. So, feel free to give us a call at (855) 313-1149. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


    The Lung Institute

  6. Cynthia Andrade

    7 months ago

    My Dr said I only have 19% of my lungs we I be able to get a transplant an would it be an Improvement for me or would stem cell be better

  7. Matt

    1 year ago

    Hello Jack,
    Thank you for your post. If you are interested in learning more about stem cell therapy and lung disease, please give us a call at (855) 313-1149. Thanks again and have a great day.

  8. jack walker

    1 year ago

    hi I am a 78 year old male, and i was told told by my Dr when i was in ca that i had lungs of a 300 year old man . I am smoke free going on 3 years but have a inhaler i use . i do get short of breath when i try to do too much and where i used to be able to walk several blocks , no lucky to walk a half block My heart is good and my neck veins are open and have no other problems with my health just my lungs my oxz intake is around 87 and never lower then 83 even out of breath

  9. PB

    1 year ago

    Dear Brad,

    Thanks for your comment and question. Stem cell treatment can help people in any stage of emphysema, from very mild to very severe. Because emphysema is a complex chronic lung disease, to answer your question, it’s best to speak one-on-one with one of our patient coordinators. Our patient coordinators have a wealth of knowledge about stem cells, treatment options, cost and candidacy, and they are happy to answer your questions. Feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149, and we look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  10. BradAiles

    1 year ago

    My pulmonary doctor said I have copd Emphysema and 37% of my lung left. Would i qualify for stem cell

* All treatments performed at Lung Institute utilize autologous stem cells, meaning those derived from a patient's own body. No fetal or embryonic stem cells are utilized in Lung Institute's procedures. Lung Institute aims to improve patients' quality of life and help them breathe easier through the use of autologous stem cell therapy. To learn more about how stem cells work for lung disease, click here.

All claims made regarding the efficacy of Lung Institute's treatments as they pertain to pulmonary conditions are based solely on anecdotal support collected by Lung Institute. Individual conditions, treatment and outcomes may vary and are not necessarily indicative of future results. Testimonial participation is voluntary. Lung Institute does not pay for or script patient testimonials.

Under current FDA guidelines and regulations 1271.10 and 1271.15, the Lung Institute complies with all necessary requirements for operation. The Lung Institute is firmly in accordance with the conditions set by the FDA for exemption status and conducts itself in full accordance with current guidelines. Any individual who accesses Lung Institute's website for information is encouraged to speak with his or her primary physician for treatment suggestions and conclusive evidence. All information on this site should be used for educational and informational use only.

As required by Texas state law, the Lung Institute Dallas Clinic has received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from MaGil IRB, now Chesapeake IRB, which is fully accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Program (AAHRPP), for research protocols and stem cell procedures. The Lung Institute has implemented these IRB approved standards at all of its clinics nationwide. Approval indicates that we follow rigorous standards for ethics, quality, and protections for human research.