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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is One of Many Lung Conditions that Could Lead to Transplant

Husband and wife talking with doctorChronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD, is a progressive lung disease that makes breathing more difficult. COPD is most commonly caused by smoking, although environmental pollution and other factors may also spur the disease. Most people who have COPD also develop emphysema and/or chronic bronchitis first. As the lungs become less capable of transferring oxygen into the blood and removing carbon dioxide from it, COPD patients can experience symptoms including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and fatigue. At first, these symptoms may occur only upon physical exertion, but as the disease progresses, they may be felt even at rest. While the disease progresses, it can also leave the lungs vulnerable to many respiratory infections.

Although there is no cure for the condition, COPD patients have many treatment options. Changing one's lifestyle is always recommended for patients who have developed the disease by smoking, but physicians can also prescribe medications to help manage symptoms. Inhalers and anti-inflammatory drugs can quell symptoms by reducing swelling within the lungs, but emergency intervention may be required in severe bouts.

In some cases, a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patient’s condition deteriorates to the point that a lung transplant may be a beneficial treatment option. At Tampa General Hospital's Lung Transplant Program, our experienced team performs transplant procedures for adults who have chronic pulmonary disease or any of a number of other lung conditions. When a patient is referred to us by a physician, we will use the information included on a physician-submitted Cardiothoracic Transplant referral form and consider other factors to determine whether to accept the patient into our program. Generally, we accept COPD patients who show worsening health, have pulmonary hypertension, and cannot efficiently transfer carbon dioxide out of the blood (as shown in specific lab values); however, we evaluate every patient on a case-by-case basis.

To learn more about how Tampa General Hospital’s Lung Transplant Program can help patients who have COPD, contact us at 1-800-505-7769 (press 3 for the lung transplant program and ask for the referral coordinator), or call the coordinator directly at (813) 844-4088.