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Lung Transplant Waiting List

Once your UPMC transplant coordinator calls to let you know that you're on the lung transplant waiting list, the next phase of your journey begins.

Lung Transplant Waiting List Criteria and Requirements

The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) makes the lung allocation rules.

Lung transplant candidates, ages 12 and older, will receive a lung allocation score between 0 and 100.

The lung allocation score determines your priority on the waiting list. Factors that contribute to your lung allocation score can be found on this UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing) form.

The higher your lung allocation score, the higher your priority becomes for receiving a donor lung when one is available.

Lung transplant waiting list time factors

Wait times for a lung transplant vary due to factors such as:

  • Blood type and chest size
  • A shortage of donor lungs
  • Lung allocation score
  • Sensitization status - whether there are pre-formed antibodies against a potential donor.

You can learn more about lung allocation and waiting times for transplant recipients from UNOS.

Staying Close to UPMC While on the Lung Transplant Wait List

While you're on the lung transplant waiting list, you may need to relocate to Pittsburgh or arrange for a medical flight so that you can arrive at UPMC within the established time frame.

When a lung becomes available, you need to get to UPMC within four hours.

Family House provides an affordable "home away from home" for lung transplant patients and their families. This is not a medical facility.

Lung transplant support and follow-up

Once you are on the waiting list, your lung transplant coordinator will schedule you for follow-up appointments based on your personal needs.

You will need to check in with your transplant coordinator at a minimum of every two weeks and come to UPMC at least every three months so the team can assess your condition. It's vital to keep your follow-up appointments.

When your lung allocation score reaches 50 or more, your lung transplant team will need to update your wait list status every two weeks. This can be done via phone.

Becoming Inactive on the Lung Transplant Waiting List

Please inform your lung transplant coordinator if you will be more than four hours away from UPMC.

We will update your status to "inactive" on the lung transplant list during your travel. Upon returning to the area and being available for potential donor offers, your status will then change back to "active."

We may also need to place you on inactive status if other health issues arise while you're waiting for a donor lung, or if you are unable to comply with the wait list rules. You will not be penalized if you choose to change your status to inactive.

When Donor Lungs Become Available

When donor lungs become available and allocated to you, your transplant coordinator will call you with instructions on what needs to happen.

While you travel to the hospital, the UPMC lung transplant team will continue to evaluate the donor lungs. If the lungs are a match, you will prepare for surgery when you arrive at the hospital. If the team finds that the organ isn’t right for you, we will send you home and contact you when a new set of lungs becomes available.