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Leading a Healthy Life After Lung Transplant

Lung transplantation is rising in India, and it is today a medical frontier that demands priority and attention. Dr. Arvind Kumar, Chairman of the Institute of Chest Surgery at Medanta Gurgaon, reveals the challenges and difficulties in India’s lung transplantation scenario. His details provide a valuable perspective on a healthcare segment that is marked by an absence of focused patient tracking. In this blog, we will explore the urgent need of a centralised registry, an important tool that can form a bridge between the patients in need and the lean availability of organs that ultimately fosters a healthy life and even healthier future for the people facing respiratory difficulties in India.


Urgent Establishment of Centralised Registry for Managing Lung Transplants in India is Necessary


India at present lacks an official registry to track the patients who are in need of transplants. The rising number of various diseases and the repercussions of Covid-19 have changed society a lot. 


Lasting lung damage is getting more common than ever before, for which lung transplant is the only option. Let us delve into the success rates of these transplants as well as the challenges and opportunities we have. 


Lung Transplant Market in India


A major problem in India is the lack of an official registry that can monitor and regulate lung transplant candidates as well as recipients over time. This leads to a lot of consequences eventually. Without this system, individuals who are in extreme need of a donor are unable to find them while the donors are unable to find the individuals who need donation back. Because of this, the entire transplantation process becomes extremely difficult and challenging. 


The demand for lung transplant is growing with a rapid speed due to the presence of various diseases in society, especially after the COVID 19 pandemic. Individuals with permanent lung damage or severely damaged lungs are in a pressing need of a donation with effective treatment.


Every year more than 100 lung transplants take place in India. In some years, the number even grows further to 120 or 130. Individuals are facing death due to the unavailability of donor lungs. A registry is required to address and counter these problems within the right time with appropriate care and support. Matching of patients along with offering the much-needed hope becomes stronger and better with the availability of such a registry. 


Success Rate of Lung Transplants in India


If you consider surgical success rate in India, then it is fortunately more than 95%. Out of which, 90% of transplant recipient survive at least a 1 year timeframe whereas 65-70% of people live for another 5 years. But keeping the surgical success rate aside, there is also a problem that not all individuals go through the treatment.


India sees approximately 100 to 120 transplants every year. There is definitely a demand of a much higher number of procedures. But the shortage of suitable donors lead to the loss of several lives every year. Improving the situation of availability of the donors can bring life-saving advantages to the country.


Age Groups and Lung Transplants 


Eligibility criteria for lung transplant in terms of age is 18 and above currently. This age limit extends 65 years of age as well. But there are several centres around the world that limit the consideration of recipients up to the age of 70 years. Other criteria include the severity of the disease and the condition of the lungs. Overall health and wellbeing is also considered often. A medical team then evaluates the individuals to check the suitability and then the procedure is taken ahead. Multiple medical and lifestyle factors are considered here.


This diversity in age groups undergoing lung transplantation highlights the significance of tailored healthcare and eligibility assessments to ensure the best possible outcomes for recipients of all ages.


Challenges Faced by Hospitals in Lung Transplantation


One of the most significant difficulties in lung transplantation is the extreme lack of donor organs. The requirement for lungs far exceeds the available supply which results in patients lingering on the waiting lists for a long period of time. The lack of lungs has extreme consequences as the disease gets worse inside those individuals and surviving becomes difficult with time. End stage lung diseases are tough to counter or treat. Gradually, a lot of individuals end up losing their lives without a mere chance of getting treated or going through the transplantation process.


On the other hand, lung transplantation is an extremely complex process. It demands specialised skills and resources. Surgeons, anaesthetists and intensive care units with expertise in transplantation are vital components of the process. The operation itself requires precise techniques and meticulous post-operative care, making it a resource-intensive and demanding medical endeavour.


The financial side of lung transplantation can be another hassling process too. In India, a lot of transplantation takes place in private facilities where the average cost starts with 30 to 40 lakhs. This price tag takes a lot of people off of the waiting list and deals with the consequences with worse struggles. The economic barrier ends up becoming a challenging situation for those individuals. 


After the lung transplant procedure, several medications are required to remain healthy and support the postoperative state. These medications come with their own set of challenges, including side effects and the financial burden of long-term medication. Compliance is vital for maintaining the transplanted lung's health and function. Overcoming these difficulties needs a lot of effort along with the awareness of right information. 


Evolvement of the field in India


India is positively matchable to several western countries in terms of technique and technology. There is an availability of advanced medical expertise and state-of-the-art equipment comparable to the finest global centers. A major obstacle that India is facing today is in organ donation factor. 


Unlike the countries like Europe, US, Canada and Australia, India still requires improvement in the donation rates in the field. All of these countries have much higher rates of donation than India at present.




Overall, the lung transplantation scenario in India is extremely challenging. A need for a centralised registry along with the balance of economical barriers and growing demand has to be considered by the authorities. However, there is still a lot of hope with newer strategies and innovation. Living a healthy life after lung transplant is all about consuming right food items and following a holistic lifestyle altogether.


This blog has been converted from the PR Article - India in dire need of a centralized registry to track patients in need of lung transplants, says a top doctor.

Dr. Arvind Kumar
Lung Transplant
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