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Lung Transplant Evaluation and Requirements

When you choose to come to UPMC for a lung transplant evaluation, the process will begin before you even travel to Pittsburgh.

This guide will explain the lung transplant evaluation and requirements at UPMC, such as:

  • How the lung transplant team decides if you meet the criteria for an evaluation visit.
  • What happens during your lung transplant evaluation.
  • What to expect after your visit.

Deciding if You're a Lung Transplant Candidate

Once your doctor refers you to UPMC's Lung Transplant Program, our team will review your medical records. At the same time, the financial group will work to get insurance authorization for a transplant evaluation.

The records review lets us see how advanced your lung disease is and if you meet the lung transplant requirements and criteria.

Lung transplant requirements and criteria

A lung transplant is major surgery with risks of its own. The success of each transplant largely depends on making sure each person is a good candidate.

Candidates for lung transplant often have lung diseases such as:

Other lung transplant requirements at UPMC include:

  • Having a BMI (body mass index) of 35 or less
  • Documented nicotine-free for at least six months before your evaluation.

Once your insurance approves you for a lung transplant evaluation, an intake coordinator will work with you on scheduling your visit to UPMC. Your pre-transplant coordinator will be your point of contact throughout the entire transplant process.

Lung transplant costs

Before coming to UPMC for a lung transplant evaluation, you may need precertification from your health insurer.

You might also want to talk with a financial adviser about lung transplant costs and your insurance coverage. You should find out what benefits are available to you (travel and lodging costs) while in Pittsburgh.

UNOS has a very detailed website that provides:

  • Questions to ask your lung transplant team and health insurance company.
  • The average costs of transplant by organ.
  • Tips to help you prepare for the lung transplant process.

Your Lung Transplant Evaluation: What to Expect

Your lung transplant evaluation will last one week, beginning on Monday morning. You will need to bring a caregiver or support person with you to each appointment.

During your weeklong visit, the transplant team will conduct diagnostic tests, blood work, and multiple consultations to see if a lung transplant is right for you.

If you don't live near Pittsburgh, Family House offers affordable lodging for transplant patients and their caregivers. Family House is not a medical facility.

Your lung transplant team will mail you a binder letting you know where your scheduled appointments and tests will take place. This binder will also provide you with details about the lung transplant evaluation process. It is very important that you read and review all of this material.

Tests during your lung transplant evaluation visit

During your evaluation, the lung transplant team may schedule you for consults with other doctors or additional medical tests based upon the review of your medical records.

Any of those additional requirements will be on your schedule in the binder mailed to you, including any special instructions about:

  • Eating or drinking before testing.
  • Avoiding caffeine.
  • Taking your normal medicines.
  • The types of clothes or shoes you should wear to your test.

Please feel free to ask questions at any time during your lung transplant evaluation.

You want to come away from your visit knowing both the risks and benefits of a lung transplant. You and your caregiver should also understand the kind of commitment the lung transplant process takes.

After Your Lung Transplant Evaluation at UPMC

After the lung transplant team reviews your results from the week, the transplant coordinator will call you with the outcome of the discussion. You may be asked for additional testing, return visits, or cleared to be placed on the waiting list. At this point, the financial staff will begin the process of getting authorization for the transplant. Insurance companies may need additional documentation for routine age appropriate medical testing. Once the insurance company provides approval, the transplant coordinator will work with you on the timing of placing you on the UNOS transplant wait list.