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Lung Transplant Survival Rates

21 Nov 2014
| Under COPD, Lung Transplant, Treatments | Posted by | 6 Comments
Lung Transplant Survival Rates Lung Institute

What Happens after the Transplant?

For people with a very severe form of lung disease there are very few options for treatment. Lung diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), interstitial lung disease or pulmonary fibrosis, are terminal and have no known cure. Even with the availability of alternative treatments like stem cell therapy, some people do not find the relief they need from the harshening symptoms of their condition. For these people, the answer may seem to be a full lung transplant. However, with the startling statistics behind lung transplant survival rates, the answer is not as clear as suffers would like.

Lung Transplant as an Option

The idea of completely removing a person’s lungs and replacing them with another person’s is a daunting thought. The risks are very high, and include:

  • Organ rejections
  • Infection
  • Long-term medications that can hinder the immune system
  • Eventual lung failure and death

With these risks in mind, a person first needs to exhibit a great need for the transplant. Usually, a patient needs to have a very severe form of a terminal lung disease and have the prognosis of less than 2 years to live.

Before you can be placed on the transplant list, you must first be cleared by a number of physicians. Then you will be assigned to a transplant team that will likely include:

  • Transplant Pulmonologist
  • Transplant Surgeon
  • Transplant Cardiologist
  • Transplant Coordinator
  • Pharmacologist
  • Infections Disease Team
  • A number of nurses, physical therapists and assistants

Finally, you wait and wait in hopes that a donor is available and is a match for your transplant. In the meantime, it is crucial to keep healthy and positive. If your health drops, you may become ineligible for the transplant. This definitely means quitting smoking and sticking to that goal, but you also need to keep up with breathing exercises and a healthy diet.

Lung Transplant Survival Rates

It’s a sad state of affairs, but the survival rates for a lung transplant are not very good. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the survival rate for someone receiving a single-lung transplant (only one of the two lungs is being replaced) has a 78 percent chance of survival for 1 year, a 63 percent chance at 3 years and a 51 percent chance to live 5 years. They also note that the median survival for single-lung transplants is 4.6 years. On the other hand, double-lung transplants tend to see slightly higher survival rates, and the median survival rate for a double-lung transplant is 6.6 years.

Before the option of a lung transplant is considered, patients may find results in alternative treatment options. The Lung Institute offers stem cell therapy to help treat lung diseases. Most patients see an improvement in their quality of life post treatment. If you or a loved one suffers from a lung disease, we may be able to help.  For more information, contact us or call us at (800) 729-3065.



  1. David Ebner

    1 year ago


    Thanks for your comment. We’re sorry to hear that the physician at the VA was so negative in their assessment of stem cell therapy. Given that autologous stem cell therapy for pulmonary conditions has been a more recent medical advancement, most physicians are not aware of the abilities of stem cells to be used in this fashion. We are currently collecting additional data to present a more comprehensive sample, but the following statistics represent the patient reported results from May of 2013 until April of 2015:
    Patient reported improvement in quality of life after treatment: 71 percent
    Average improvement in Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) score 6 months after treatment: 10 percent (keep in mind lung disease sufferers who do not receive treatment will experience a continual reduction in PFT scores)
    Percentage of patients that have seen a 40 percent increase in PFT score: 25 percent
    Our patient satisfaction scores remain over 95% at every facility, with our most recent scores at 99%
    A member of our clinical staff will be in touch with your father to help track his progress over the next few months as well. Most importantly, we hope you father is feeling better and is able to spend more time with you and other members of your family. If you have any other questions, feel free to call us at (855) 313-1149.



  2. Chief

    1 year ago

    My father recently received stem cell therapy from your organization. After reporting to his normal VA Pulmonologist three weeks post treatment, the Doctor told him that the treatments are pure quackery, snake oil in fact, and the only change in quality of life is do to placebo.. can you folks not provide some form of statistics, or prove otherwise? Appreciate your response…

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  5. Cara Tompot

    2 years ago

    Hi Nella, if you would like to speak with a patient coordinator about stem cell treatment, our phone number is 855.313.1149. A patient coordinator will be able to walk you through the treatment process and help determine if your brother qualifies for stem cell therapy.

  6. Nella O Neal

    2 years ago

    My brother has severe COPD and I was wondering about stem cell treatment

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* 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.

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