Appointment New Patient Appointment or 214-645-8300

Srinivas Bollineni, M.D. Answers Questions On Lung Transplantation

Srinivas Bollineni, M.D. Answers Questions On: Lung Transplantation

What challenges follow lung transplantation?

After a lung transplant, patients may have to take 20 medications in the morning and 20 in the evening. That can be hard to adjust to.

Patients can also develop health problems from taking these medications, including hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, skin cancer, confusion, altered mental status, and depression. Because we are suppressing a patient’s immunity to prevent rejection, infections are also a concern.

Transplant patients will also have significantly altered lifestyles. Family members should be ready to help patients with medications, bring them to appointments, and take them to rehabilitation. Patients also require diet changes and will need to keep a clean house and take other precautions to prevent infections.

Are there any common misconceptions about lung transplantation?

Some patients have high expectations and some have low expectations. For people with high expectations, they think you have the surgery, and that's it. They imagine that they'll have to take the medications for a few months, and then they won’t need to take the medications anymore. But they need to take the medications for the rest of their lives.

Other patients think that after their transplant, their immunity will be low and they shouldn’t go anywhere or do anything. That's not true. Lung transplant patients can go anywhere and follow their passions, but with precautions.

When I meet with patients for the first time, we talk about the transplant and focus on the complications – because I want them to understand and be prepared. I tell patients to expect the best but prepare for the worst – to know that lung transplant is not a complete fix and that, in effect, they’re trading one type of health complication for others. 

Most patients say, "What other option do I have? Either I live like this or try a transplant. I don't want to give up. I want to take care of my grandkids."