Treatment Programs

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Lung Transplant Program

The Lung Transplant Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Transplant Center brings together state-of-the-art technology and leading-edge medical and surgical interventions to provide patients with individualized care before and after their lung transplants.

A Personal Care Team for Every Patient

One of the main goals of lung transplantation is to help patients live longer, better quality lives. At the Transplant Center, we bring together a personal care team of lung disease specialists to provide comprehensive treatment for every patient. This team meets regularly with patients and referring physicians and includes:

  • Pulmonologists
  • Thoracic surgeons
  • Cardiologists
  • Endocrinologists
  • Immunologists
  • Thoracic nurses
  • Transplant nurses
  • Physical therapists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Social workers
  • Pharmacists
  • Infectious disease specialists
  • Critical care specialists
  • Nutritionists
  • Financial services representatives
  • Transplant coordinators

Advanced Lung Transplant Evaluation

The goal for every patient is to optimize his or her lifestyle and offer the best possible outcomes. All patients are carefully evaluated to see if they are candidates for transplant or if their condition can be managed through alternative interventions, including:

  • Pulmonary rehabilitation, which helps patients with lung conditions learn to improve their quality of life
  • Gene therapy studies, which involve transplanting genetic material into the patient’s tissues rather than transplanting a whole or partial organ
  • Clinical investigations related to prescribed medications including corticosteroids and antibiotics
  • Non-transplant surgical therapies, such as lung volume reduction surgery, which involves removing portions of the damaged lung

Comprehensive, Coordinated Care

All lung transplant candidates work with a transplant coordinator, who lays the groundwork for their initial evaluation by gathering:

  • Medical information
  • Previous test results
  • Patient medical history, including prior hospitalizations

The coordinator then manages the patient evaluation, which includes:

  • Comprehensive patient education sessions
  • Blood work
  • An EKG
  • Radiology
  • Chest X-rays
  • Pulmonary functioning tests, including exercise studies
  • A social worker’s appraisal
  • Assessment of the need for an ECMO device, when appropriate

The Lung Allocation Score System (LAS)

Unlike other organ transplantation programs, which apply a seniority method to determine a patient’s position on the organ donor list, the Lung Transplant Program utilizes a unique system based on patients’ transplant urgency. This mathematical model, called the lung allocation score system and used by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), ensures that patients who most need a lung transplant receive priority over those in better health.

Pre-Transplant CareOur patients’ care teams work with them and their local physician to address health care issues that might develop as they wait for transplant. We help our patients maintain the highest quality of life possible through the use of supplemental oxygen and prescribed medications.

Follow-Up Care for a Lifetime

Our commitment to our patients’ wellbeing extends to their postoperative needs and includes help coordinating their care following discharge. We are very involved in our patients’ physical recovery support them as they transition back to their regular lives following transplant.

Leaders in the Field of Lung Transplantation

Founded in 1990, the Lung Transplant Program at Mass General was the first Medicare-approved lung transplant program in New England. Our major milestones include:

  • Performing New England’s first living related lung donor transplant
  • Establishing New England’s first live donor lung transplant program in 1995

We perform transplants from both living and deceased donors and maintain the region’s largest Living Donor Program.

Innovating Lung Transplant Care

Our dedicated team of transplantation management experts offers comprehensive treatment for patients who require transplantation due to a variety of conditions, including:

  • Emphysema: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease due to a loss of lung tissue elasticity
  • Bronchiectasis: Obstructive lung disease causing irreversible bronchial tree dilation
  • Cystic fibrosis: Inherited disease of the mucus and sweat producing glands
  • Pulmonary fibrosis: Lung scarring that inhibits oxygenation of the blood
  • Pulmonary hypertension: High blood pressure in arteries that supply the lungs
  • Sarcoidosis: Inflammation that produces nodules in organs including the lungs
  • Other interstitial lung diseases

A Dedicated Referral Line for Physicians and Patients

We provide patients and referring physicians with an experienced access coordinator, a clinician who helps assess patient needs, coordinate appointments and begin the appropriate testing regimen. Contact the Lung Transplant Program’s access coordinator

Calls will be returned within 24 hours.

 

Clinical Research Studies & TrialsThe Lung Transplant Program is a regional research center with an active clinical trials program in both lung transplantation and many of the diseases that cause the need for transplantation. Developing technologies include:

  • Stem cell transplantation: We are studying stem cell transplantation as a way to replace airways and whole lungs and to improve our understanding of how airways heal in order to achieve better transplantation results
  • Medical treatment: We are part of a multicenter trial of a new drug to treat pulmonary fibrosis

Patients interested in participating in clinical trials can browse online for open trials.

Conditions and Diseases

The links below provide more information about conditions and diseases that might be treated within this program.

Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. CF causes the body to produce thick, sticky mucus that leads to progressive lung infection and difficulty gaining weight.

Interstitial Lung Disease (Pulmonary Fibrosis)

Interstitial lung diseases are named after the tissue between the air sacs of the lungs called the interstitium - the tissue affected by fibrosis (scarring).

Primary Pulmonary Hypertension

Pulmonary hypertension is a lung disorder in which the blood pressure in the pulmonary artery rises far above normal levels.

Pulmonary Embolism

A pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blood clot that develops in a blood vessel elsewhere in the body (most commonly from the leg), travels to an artery in the lung, and forms an occlusion (blockage) of the artery.

Pulmonary Emphysema

Emphysema is a chronic lung condition in which alveoli, or air sacs, may be destroyed, narrowed, collapsed, stretched or over-inflated.

Pulmonary Sarcoidosis

Sarcoidosis is a rare disease that results from inflammation.

Support and Wellness

Mass General is dedicated to ensuring that people understand their health care choices and have the necessary information to make decisions affecting their health and well being. The related support and wellness information listed below can play a role in treatment options.

 

A Patient Guide to Transplantation (PDF)

Read the Transplant Center's award-winning patient education guide, Transplantation: What Do I Need to Know?

¿Qué necesito saber? (PDF)

En español.

The following related clinical trials and research studies are currently seeking participants at Massachusetts General Hospital. Search for clinical trials and studies in another area of interest.

Transplant Center patients and donor families celebrate National Donate Life Month

The Transplant Center celebrated Donate Life Month by raising public awareness about the importance of organ donation and also extending thanks to the many organ donors and families who have given the generous gift of life to others.

Transplant Center recognized as a leader in patient education

Clinicians at the Transplant Center received a National Health Information Award for developing an outstanding patient education book and streamlining the patient evaluation process.

Transplant Center recognized for organ donation rate

The Department of Health and Human Services awarded the Transplant Center a Medal of Honor for its outstanding achievements in organ donation, including a donation rate of 75 percent or more eligible donors.

Single lung transplant has Thomas Derigo playing golf

Diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, Thomas Derigo, a husband and father to two teenage girls, had only one option: lung transplantation. Under the expert care of his team at Mass General, Thomas’s transplantation was a success, giving him the ability to live life normally and do the things he loves the most.

A Patient Guide to Transplantation (PDF)

Read the Transplant Center's award-winning patient education guide, Transplantation: What Do I Need to Know?

¿Qué necesito saber? (PDF)

En español.

Lung Transplant Program

55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114

Phone: 800-876-LUNG (5864)

Public Transportation Access: yes
Disabled Access: yes

Refer a patient to the Transplant Center

Request an appointment for your patient with one of our world-class transplant specialists.

Discover the Transplant Center patient experience

Our approach to patient care brings together a team of transplant specialists who create a personalized treatment plan for each patient.