The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Lung transplants are often recommended to individuals in the last stage of their disease. In most situations, a lung transplant is prescribed to a person when it is suspected that they will not survive another year.
Typically, good candidates for a lung transplant are in their 40s or younger and in good health, with the exception of the lungs. Historically, people above the age of 60 were denied candidacy for lung transplant surgery as the risks increase as you age. However, at certain institutions lung transplants are being performed on individuals in their 70s. Under the right circumstances, Johns Hopkins Medicine is one provider.
At the Lung Institute, we see a lot of patients that have been denied the opportunity for a lung transplant either because of other health concerns or because they are too old. Others don’t want to endure the surgery or the risks. So what really are the pros and cons of stem cell therapy vs. lung transplant?
Stem Cell Therapy vs. Lung Transplant
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), here are some statistics on life expectancy for lung transplant patients:
- Approximately 4 out of 5 people are still alive 1 year after a single/double lung transplant.
- Approximately 2 out of 5 transplant recipients are alive at 5 years.
- Rejection is the highest risk for mortality after a transplant. Anti-rejection drugs must be taken every day to reduce this risk. Since these drugs suppress the immune system, they can leave individuals more susceptible to infection.
- Outcomes are similar for single and double lung transplants.
- Five years after a transplant approximately 1 in 5 people develop cancer or a heart condition.
Both stem cell therapy and a lung transplant have been proven to significantly improve sufferers’ quality of life. Unlike a lung transplant, autologous stem cell therapy does not have a long list of risk factors. More and more people are opting to undergo stem cell therapy either before a lung transplant to reduce the likelihood of needing one, or as an alternative to lung transplant surgery. The important thing to know is that you do have options. If your physician tells you that you can’t have a lung transplant it does not have to be the end of your treatment journey.
You Have Options
If you or a loved one has been found ineligible for a lung transplant, stem cell therapy can help. Stem cell therapy in no way reduces the need for a transplant, but it can significantly improve your quality of life. The great thing about stem cell therapy is that it can be prescribed to individuals that have just been diagnosed as well as those people in the final stages of their disease.
Progress milestones differ from patient to patient, but at the Lung Institute, what we hear over and over are things like, “It used to take me an hour to take a shower, and now it takes me a normal 15 minutes.” Read our testimonials to find out more.
How it Works
We have harnessed the natural healing capacity of a person’s stem cells. Our treatment utilizes autologous stem cells, meaning stem cells from the patient’s own body. Hence, our procedures are considered safe and effective with zero chance of rejection from the body.
The treatment process occurs over the course of 3 days with each office visit lasting only a few hours. Since this treatment is minimally invasive, and the post treatment downtime is significantly less than that of a transplant, many individuals are turning to stem cell therapy for treatment.
Patients that have been treated at the Lung Institute are walking further, depending on supplemental oxygen less, and breathing easier. As more patients see consistent positive results, we suspect that a greater number of people will utilize stem cell therapy before going under the knife for a transplant.