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What should I do while waiting for a lung transplant?

During this waiting period, it is critical that patients maintain good nutrition, an exercise program, and overall health, so that they will be strong enough for surgery when a donor organ becomes available.

Patients need to continue regular medical evaluations and treatments under the coordinated care of their referring physicians and the transplant team at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Patients should exercise at home as guided by the team, or in an outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation program, because recovery from surgery is easier when patients are more physically fit. Immunizations must be updated during this time as well.

The Center provides educational and support services to patients and their families, including seminars, support groups, counseling services, and reading materials.
There are many things people can and should do while waiting for a lung transplant, including:
  • Continue to exercise regularly to promote endurance and speed up recovery after transplant.
  • Follow dietary guidelines.
  • Carry a cell phone when not at home. The lung transplant team needs to be able to contact people on the waiting list at any time.
  • Find ways to manage the stress of waiting and coping with chronic illness in order to maintain a positive outlook.
  • Notify the transplant program when not feeling well, when starting a new medication and within 24 hours if hospitalized.
  • Set up an advanced directive and identify a power of attorney.
  • Set up a support group of family and friends to help post-surgery.
  • Make arrangements for transportation to hospital for transplant.
  • Pack your bags in advance, including a 24- to 48-hour supply of medication and oxygen if needed.
  • Bring enough oxygen for the round trip.
  • Confirm temporary living arrangements if necessary.
  • Become familiar with post-transplant care.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.