Lung Transplantation at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center

A lung transplant replaces a diseased lung with a healthy one from a donor. At Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, we perform single and double lung transplants, as well as lung and heart combination transplants.

Lung Transplant Evaluation

A pre-transplant evaluation helps determine if patients are healthy enough to have surgery. A series of tests are performed to give specialists information about potential problems and complications before, during, and after surgery. These tests may include:

  • Pulmonary function tests
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan of the chest
  • Echocardiogram
  • Exercise stress test
  • Heart catheterization, based on age and other heart test results
  • Bone densitometry measurement
  • Blood tests: blood type, liver function, electrolytes, complete blood count
  • Antibody testing: cytomegalovirus (CMV), hepatitis B, hepatitis, HIV, and other viruses
  • Six-minute walk test

Other tests may also be performed. After a complete evaluation, the lung transplant team will meet with you to discuss if you are indeed a candidate for a lung transplant.

Criteria

Although a great solution for many, a lung transplant is not necessarily the right treatment for everyone. Ideal candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Advanced lung disease with limited 2-year survival
  • Oxygen-dependent
  • Age is generally 70 years or younger
  • Ambulatory and/or potential for rehabilitation
  • Abstinence from tobacco, alcohol, or substance use
  • Adequate psychosocial support
  • No significant associated comorbidities

When listed as a lung transplant candidate, the patient’s referring primary care physician, pulmonologist, and/or cardiologist continue to provide primary care while the patient waits for a suitable donor lung. Follow-up visits to Newark Beth Israel Medical Center are scheduled at approximately 1 to 3-month intervals to monitor the candidate’s medical status. Following the transplant, the team collaborates with the referring physician to support patients in optimizing their respiratory and overall health.

Lung Transplant Survival Rate and Life Expectancy

  • The lung transplant survival rate at least one year after lung transplant is 88 percent.
  • After 3 years, the lung transplant survival rate is 73 percent.
  • The 5-year lung transplant survival rate is 60 percent.

Lung Transplant Success Rate Rises With Careful Monitoring and Adherence to Recovery Plan

We make every effort to promptly identify and manage complications to improve the chances of a successful lung transplant. Our specialists carefully monitor patients during all phases of recovery for signs of rejection, infection and side effects of immunotherapy.

Our specialists provide patients with quality care every step of the way — from doctor visits to immunotherapy to rehabilitation. They also help with lifestyle modifications. Patients who adhere to their doctor’s recovery plan and instructions increase their chances of lung transplant success.

Lung Transplant Procedure and Recovery

  • Once a suitable organ is identified and accepted for transplant, it is removed from the donor’s body.
  • The organ is preserved, packed and transported to Newark Beth Israel Medical Center.
  • The recipient is prepped in the operating room while waiting for the organ’s arrival.
  • When the lung arrives, the diseased lung is removed and replaced with the donor one.
  • Patients are placed on a ventilator and may need the assistance of a heart-lung machine during the operation.
  • Following the procedure, patients are brought to the intensive care unit (ICU).
  • After ICU recovery, the patient is brought to a private room.

Our specialists constantly monitor the patient to ensure that the body successfully accepts the new lung. They prescribe immune-suppressing medications to prevent rejection and antibiotics to prevent infection.

When patients are ready, they are discharged from the hospital and begin their at-home lung transplant recovery program.

What Makes Newark Beth Israel’s Lung Transplant Program Stand Out?

Our Team

At Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, we believe in a comprehensive approach to patient care. Multidisciplinary team members include:

  • Cardiothoracic and thoracic surgeons
  • Pulmonologists and critical care medicine specialists
  • Nurses, advanced practice nurses, nurse practitioners and doctor of nursing practitioners
  • Transplant social workers, support, counseling and referrals
  • Transplantation pharmacists and comprehensive pharmacy services
  • Transplant dieticians and medical nutrition therapy

All of our pulmonologists and critical care medicine specialists are board-certified and well-versed in advanced, severe lung disease.

Advanced Lung Disease and Transplant Team

Specialized Programs and Equipment Not Available in Most Other New Jersey Hospitals

Unlike most hospitals, we have interventional pulmonology specialists and a fellowship training program, which means we have met the qualification criteria for a large patient population with severe, unique illnesses.

We also have an advanced lung disease service line which includes a robust pulmonary hypertension program. Our pulmonary hypertension program is involved in clinical trials and provides the most up-to-date care for our patients.

No other programs in New Jersey have a lung transplant program.

As a result of all of these factors, sick, high-risk patients are referred to our program for advanced technology and specialized experienced care.

We offer extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), which is a type of mechanical assist device that can take over the functioning of the heart and/or lungs while the body heals. ECMO requires a highly advanced and experienced multidisciplinary team. ECMO is offered to critically ill patients when conventional treatment for life-threatening respiratory failure is no longer effective as a bridge to recovery or bridge to lung transplant.

More Info

Want to learn more about lung transplants? Read our frequently asked questions page.

Patient Stories

  • “It is a gift of life. Everyone in my family is now signed up as an organ donor.”

    Eileen
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  • Cared for by Newark Beth Israel Medical Center’s Advanced Lung Disease, Neonatal and Obstetrics Critical Care Teams

    Fabienne and Nathaniel
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  • “I promised her [granddaughter] that I would make her 6th birthday party and I did. And here it is 5 years later and I'm still here, thanks to the hospital, doctors and everybody else.”

    Robert
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Patient Stories

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