Lung Transplant Rejection

Lung Transplant Rejection

A lung transplant is a surgical procedure done to replace one or both of the diseased lungs with healthy lungs from an organ donor. While a lung transplant can be life-saving for people with end-stage lung disease, it is not without risk. One of the biggest risks that come with a lung transplant is the chance of rejection.

Lung transplant rejection occurs when the body’s immune system sees the transplanted lung as foreign and attacks it. There are three types of rejection that can occur: acute, chronic, and occult. Acute rejection typically happens soon after the transplant and is the most common type of rejection. Chronic rejection is a slower-moving type that occurs over time. Occult rejection is a subtle type of rejection that is difficult to detect but can have serious implications if left untreated.

The signs and symptoms of lung transplant rejection may include coughing, chest pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, fever, and weight loss. If the patient experiences any of these symptoms, they should contact their doctor immediately for further evaluation.

The best way to prevent rejection is to take all medications as prescribed and to follow all instructions from their healthcare team. It is also important for the patient to be aware of any changes in their physical or mental health, as these can be signs of rejection.

Treatment for Lung Transplant Rejection:

  • Medication - corticosteroids, mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept), sirolimus (Rapamune), and tacrolimus (Prograf).
  • Plasmapheresis - a filtration technique to reduce the concentration of antibodies in the blood.
  • Surgery - to remove all or part of the transplanted lung.

Early detection and treatment of lung transplant rejection is the key to successful treatment and long-term health. It is important for patients to follow their doctor’s instructions and any lifestyle changes they recommend to help reduce their risk of rejection.