What does a lung or heart-lung transplant evaluation involve?

Once patients are identified as potential lung transplant candidates, they undergo several days of tests and consults. The lung transplant team will then review and discuss the results to determine if the patient should be listed for lung transplant surgery. A medical team also will determine at that time whether the patient requires a single- or double-lung transplant surgery. The testing includes, but is not limited to:

  • Blood tests: To give us information about your blood sugar and cholesterol levels as well as your kidney and liver function. Other tests will tell us if you have been exposed to certain viruses, including CMV (cytomegalovirus) and EBV (Epstein-Barr virus). Blood work also will be done to determine your blood type and the percentage of antibodies in your blood.
  • A urine test: To evaluate kidney function and to determine whether alcohol and drugs are in your system.
  • A chest X-ray: To determine the size of your lungs, extent of your lung disease and the presence of any chest abnormalities.
  • A 6-minute walk: To measure the distance you are able to walk in 6 minutes and to evaluate your limitations.
  • A pulmonary function test: To evaluate the function of your lungs by measuring how much air you can breathe in and out.
  • A ventilation/perfusion scan (VQ): To measure the amount of air and blood flow to each lung.
  • A CT scan of your chest, abdomen and pelvis: To evaluate for disease in your lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas, bowel or reproductive organs.
  • A multigated acquisition or MUGA scan: To show how your heart is working by measuring the amount of blood that is pumped out of the ventricle with each contraction.
  • A right-heart catheterization: To measure the blood pressures in your heart and lungs.
  • A left-heart catheterization or coronary angiogram: To evaluate the blood vessels in your heart.
  • A carotid Doppler study: If you have a history of carotid disease, diabetes, coronary artery disease, or if you are older than 50.
  • A bone density test, or DEXA scan: To evaluate whether or not you have osteoporosis (bone mass loss).
  • A colonoscopy: If you are 50 years old or older and have not had a recent colonoscopy to screen for malignancy.
  • A mammogram: For all women 40 years old or older if not done in the last year to screen for malignancy.
  • A Pap smear: For all women if not done in the last year to screen for malignancy.
  • A dental exam is needed for all patients to rule out infection.


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