The official blog of the Lung Institute.
What is the Life Expectancy and Cost of a Lung Transplant?
The effects of lung disease on those that have developed the condition go far beyond difficulty breathing. Although the lungs are among the strongest organs in the body, the detrimental effects of a lung disease like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or interstitial lung disease (ILD) inevitably lead to a complete loss of function in the lungs. This leads to many looking to a lung transplant as the answer to their disease and inevitably the extension of their life. With this being the case, these lung transplant facts can help sufferers truly understand the truth about lung transplants.
Cost of a Lung Transplant
Of course, the cost of a lung transplant procedure will vary greatly depending on a multitude of factors, but here are some key facts about lung transplant medical costs:
- If you have insurance and the procedure is covered, you will have to likely pay for the deductibles and co-pays for the actual surgery.
- There will also be costs associated with your pre-transplant evaluations and screenings.
- The surgery itself will add costs for the surgeons, physicians, radiologists, anesthesiologists and other clinical staff.
- Finally, there are post-surgery costs with prescription medications and rehabilitation.
There are also non-medical costs that you should consider:
- You will need to pay for food, lodging and transportation to and from the transplant center before and after your surgery.
- Most people have to purchase a last-minute plane ticket to quickly get to the hospital when an organ becomes available.
- If you are employed, you will likely need to take time off from work as well.
Survival Rates of a Lung Transplant
A lung transplant is an invasive procedure. Two of your largest, most vital organs are being removed and replaced. Due to this, the survival and success rates will vary greatly. However, here are a few things to consider about lung transplants:
- About 78 percent of patients survive the first year.
- 63 percent of patients survive three years and only about half of lung transplant patients survive five years.
- Rejection and infection are the largest complications resulting from a lung transplant.
- Your new lungs are seen as foreign objects by your immune system and will likely try to fight them.
With these facts about lung transplants, many people are looking for a less invasive way to treat their lung disease. For some, the answer has been stem cell therapy. The Lung Institute, one of the leaders in using regenerative medicine in the treatment of lung disease, utilizes autologous stem cells found in the patient’s own body to help promote healing.
The procedure is done by extracting stem cells from the patient’s blood, bone marrow or fat tissue. Then the cells are separated before being returned to the patient through in IV or a nebulizer. The goal is to improve the patient’s quality of life by increasing lung function and allowing them to be more active and feel healthier.