Lung Transplant

Lung transplantation can prolong and dramatically improve the quality of life for patients with advanced and end-stage lung disease and no other treatment options. The major center for lung transplantation in the New York Tri-State area—the Center for Advanced Lung Disease and Lung Transplantation at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center—is one of the oldest in the United States. It was established in 1985, just four years after the first successful combined heart and lung transplantation was ever performed. Over the years, we have earned a reputation for our clinical expertise and rigorous commitment to excellence.

Your Lung Transplant Team

We provide you with individualized care tailored to your specific medical, surgical and psychosocial needs—from the moment you come to us for your first evaluation and throughout the extensive follow-up care after your transplant. The Lung Transplant team brings together the expertise and compassion of surgeons, pulmonologists, intensive care specialists, immunologists, endocrinologists, nurse practitioner and nurse transplant coordinators, physician assistants, rehabilitation medicine specialists, physical and respiratory therapists, social workers, psychiatrists, nutritionists, and financial counselors. Also, we communicate with your referring physician to keep him or her abreast of all stages of the transplant process.

Who is Eligible?

Lung transplantation is an option for people with end-stage lung disease, most often from:

  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Cystic fibrosis. NewYork-Presbyterian is a leader in advancing techniques and patient selection criteria for lung transplantation in adults and children with cystic fibrosis. We have the largest Adult Cystic Fibrosis Program in the New York metropolitan area.Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Advancing Lung Transplant Care

Studies conducted at the Center for Advanced Lung Disease and Lung Transplantation continue to improve treatment options, prevent or delay the progression of serious lung diseases, and improve the quality of life and survival for our patients. Those who undergo lung transplantation benefit from our clinical and academic expertise and our commitment to improving outcomes through:

  • Personalized care. Our patients receive the latest and most effective therapies individualized to their case and clinical status, reducing the risk of rejection, infection and other complications improving their outcomes. Our physicians advance lung transplantation further by investigating new immunosuppressant medications and exploring novel drug combinations to increase the longevity of the transplanted organ while decreasing the side effects associated with this treatment.
  • Care of sicker patients. Expertise in our preoperative management and life support has allowed our Program to transplant much sicker patients with significantly higher lung allocation scores compared to the rest of the country.
  • Less need for heart-lung bypass. Most transplant surgeries are now performed without using the heart-lung bypass machine, sparing patients from associated postoperative complications. Instead, when additional support is needed, extracorporeal membrane oxygenator (ECMO) is typically used during surgery.
  • Smaller incisions. Surgical refinements have reduced the size of the incision required during transplantation.

A Dedicated Center for Solid Organ Transplantation

At the state-of-the-art Comprehensive Outpatient Transplant Center at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia, you can receive your evaluation and follow-up care, including blood and other diagnostic testing and infusion treatments of special medications. We have our own immunogenetics laboratory for blood and tissue typing and antibody testing to match donor organs to recipients. We manage the registration and patient care process at the Outpatient Center using the latest technology to enhance precision and convenience.

Exceptional Survival Rates

The survival rates for our lung transplant recipients have soared far above the national average. Since the inception of the new transplant team in 2001, we have performed more than 800 operations with the one-year patient survival at 91 percent and five-year patient survival at 68 percent — significantly higher than the national average five-year survival of 55 percent. According to the most recent Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) report released in June 2017, NewYork-Presbyterian’s lung transplant program scores are statistically better than expected for three-year graft survival. The average waiting time for a lung transplant was seven months, with one in four patients receiving a transplant within ten weeks of being placed on the organ donation wait list.

Repairing and Reconditioning Donated Lungs

Because so many donor lungs are damaged at the time of death, less than 20 percent are viable for transplantation. NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia doctors participated in a pivotal clinical trial showing the effectiveness of a novel technique called "ex vivo lung perfusion" (EVLP). By evaluating and preparing donor lungs outside the body before transplant surgery, EVLP could significantly increase the available pool of donated lungs by reconditioning donor lungs that have sustained damage making them suitable for transplantation.

The lungs are warmed to normal body temperature, flushed of donor blood, inflammatory cells, and potentially harmful biologic factors, and treated with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory agents. In some cases, lungs that might have previously been deemed unsatisfactory for transplantation can be successfully replenished and repaired with EVLP, rendering them usable. The first ex vivo lung transplantation at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia was performed in 2011, saving the life of a 59-year-old woman.

ECMO as a Bridge to Lung Transplant

Some patients with severe lung disease can be supported with ambulatory extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)—a way to artificially oxygenate the blood—at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia while waiting for a lung transplant. Our ECMO Program has been designated a Platinum Level Center of Excellence for the Excellence in Life Support Award from the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization, an international non-profit consortium dedicated to the development of novel therapies for people with severe lung failure who require mechanical support.

Lifelong Follow-Up and Support

Transplantation is a life-altering procedure. Patients need life-long immunosuppressant medications and very careful monitoring indefinitely. Throughout the transplant process and beyond, we partner closely with recipients and referring physicians to achieve a seamless continuum of care, while helping patients and their families navigate any emotional, financial, and logistical concerns they may have. Our transplant team is here for the patients—for life.

Contact

NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University

Center for Lung Disease and Transplantation
Phone: 212-305-7771