The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Deciding when it’s time for a lung transplant can be challenging.
For the millions of Americans suffering from severe chronic lung disease such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), there are few among them that haven’t once considered a lung transplant. However, although traditional and effective alternative treatments exist, lung transplant has the potential to be significantly beneficial, with the ability to restore quality of life to health levels more consistent with those without lung disease. The surgery can also be incredibly invasive, dangerous and potentially life-threatening to the patient—let alone expensive. All of these factors combine into a difficult decision for many: “should I consider getting a lung transplant?”
Although it is impossible to give a clear-cut answer to a question as personal and difficult as this, with your health in mind, the Lung Institute is here to give you the facts you need on getting a Lung Transplant or Stem Cell Therapy: Weighing All the Options.
When Is It Time to Get a Lung Transplant?
Utilized when lung disease has destroyed most of the lungs’ function, a lung transplant is an effective (although risky) treatment option. With the ability to bring back easier breathing and provide years of life, lung transplants can seem immediately alluring. However, lung transplants by their very nature are inherently invasive surgeries, with major risks and complications commonly associated with them, such as the procedure itself, as well as subsequent difficulties with organ rejection.
As of 2005, the most common reasons for lung transplantation were COPD and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), so when is it time to get a lung transplant? In truth, to be a candidate for a lung transplant, your chronic lung disease must be end-stage where there are no other available options and life has lost its enjoyment. Further still, for potential patients over 60 or 65, a lung transplant center may be more hesitant in providing treatment. Nonetheless, if a patient does meet the necessary conditions and decides to seek treatment, there are several pros and cons to consider.
The Pros and Cons to Lung Transplant Surgery
Among the benefits to be expected from a lung transplant (whether single or double), more than 80% of lung-transplant patients survive at least one year after the procedure. After three years, that figure drops down from 55-70%. During this time, short-term quality of life is known to see significant improvements with breathing being made easier, a lack of limitations in patients’ physical activity is exhibited and their lung disease symptoms are sharply reduced.
Of the drawbacks of receiving a lung transplant, one can expect several life-altering outcomes. To start:
- A lung transplant is exorbitantly expensive, with estimations of the cost of the procedure and a year of medication starting at $785,000.
- Complications are inevitable with the necessity of immuno-suppressive drugs
- This means greater susceptibility to infections, viruses and other illnesses
- Long-term outcomes after lung transplantation are disappointing.
- Lung transplant recipients see among the highest rates of organ rejection
- Within five years of a transplant, nearly half of living patients will develop a form of chronic rejection known as bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS)
With the details of a lung transplant being as complex as they are, maybe it’s time to look at more simplified (and less expensive) alternatives.
Traditional Medication and Stem Cell Therapy
Traditional medication for the treatment of chronic lung disease will be defined as bronchodilator inhalers, corticosteroids, medication and oxygen therapy. And although these treatment options are much less expensive than the initial and ongoing costs of a lung transplant, these options are not without their own side-effects (weight gain, kidney issues, long-term expense) and cannot address the underlying issue with lung disease: progression.
However, an alternative option does exist. Through the implementation of stem cell therapy, it’s possible to address not only disease symptoms but the disease’s progression as well. As stem cell therapy is designed inherently to use naturally occurring reparative factors within the body’s blood and bone marrow (stem cells), stem cell therapy is not only a natural form of treatment but is also virtually free of any adverse effects. Stem cell therapy works to promote healing from within the lungs.
It’s important to talk with your doctor and 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.
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