Lung Transplant Wait List Requirements of Transplant Patients at Tampa General Hospital
If you have been approved by Tampa General Hospital’s Medical Review Board to receive a lung transplant, placement on the wait list with the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) will occur once you grant the TGH transplant coordinator permission to do so and we receive final approval from your insurance company. At that point, your name, address, contact information, status, blood type, and body size will be added to the UNOS national database.
It may be some time before a suitable organ becomes available and your surgery is performed, so you should not expect immediate action once you are placed on the lung transplant wait list. Lungs are allocated to U.S. transplant candidates primarily on the basis of their age, blood type (ABO) compatibility, and geography, as well as their lung allocation score (LAS). The LAS system, which is used for transplant candidates 12 and older, was implemented in 2005 to identify the candidates in most urgent need of a lung replacement by estimating the individual’s risk of death without transplant and after transplant (to date, lungs are the only transplanted organ whose allocation scheme takes post-transplant survival into account). After LAS implementation, time spent on the lung transplant wait list was no longer the primary consideration for access to a new organ. This helped to reduce overall wait times by effectively disincentivizing early listing as a way to accumulate wait time.
When a suitable organ – one matching your lung size and blood type – is allocated, you won’t receive any information about the donor. If you wish, you may write a letter (without any personal details) to the donor’s family to express thanks. Your nurse coordinator will forward the letter to the donor’s family through LifeLink Foundation, Inc., our local agency that handles organ donation.
While on the lung transplant waiting list, it is important that you make regular visits with your transplant pulmonologist, who will continue to assess your health, order lab tests, and adjust your medicines as necessary. You also need to continue to visit regularly with your primary physician, who will maintain constant contact with your transplant pulmonologist to discuss results of your exams and note any changes in your health.
Equally as important while on the lung transplant wait list is to immediately alert us to any changes in your insurance, and also to adhere to the following personal care requirements:
Maintain your current physical condition and stamina
Maintain a healthy diet and follow all nutritional guidelines
Abstain from using nicotine, alcohol, and narcotics