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COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Emphysema

04/25/2008

Question:

My question is this... Is it possible that my mother at age 57 that weighs 308lbs with Emphysema and irregular heart beat get a lung transplant? I don`t want to lose my mother.. What can I do and How do I get help? Who can Help me?

Answer:

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) remains one of the most common indications for lung transplantation. While there are clearly outlined national standards with respect to the indications and contraindications for lung transplant that are accepted at all centers, there remains some flexibility from program to program as to who can be considered a suitable candidate and placed on an active waiting list.

In this particular case, the age of 57 is not a contraindication, as lung transplant for patients with COPD is generally performed up through age 65. However, the irregular heart rhythm may be a contraindication if it is secondary to significant organic heart disease and would certainly have to be better characterized before transplantation could be offered. The excessive weight is certainly a contraindication at all centers in the US, as obesity has been associated with poorer surgical outcomes following lung transplant. Additionally, the excessive weight would not allow for the necessary affective physical and pulmonary rehabilitation following the lung transplant procedure.

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Response by:

David  R Nunley, MD, FCCP David R Nunley, MD, FCCP
Former Associate Professor
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University