Banner: IPF Treatment

Lung transplantation

In lung transplantation, one or both damaged lungs are replaced with the lungs from a donor. This choice of treatment may be required if the disease is quickly worsening or very severe.1 A lung transplant is a huge operation, which carries enormous risks with it including serious complications such as infection or rejection of the donor lungs.1 Medicines will be required for the rest of the patient’s life to reduce the risk of rejection. On the other hand, a transplant could improve the patient’s quality of life and help them live longer.1,2

Not everyone with IPF is eligible for a lung transplant – some patients may have comorbidities that make a lung transplant not possible. Comorbidities can be a challenge for patients with IPF, as many suffer from other significant health problems like pulmonary hypertension or COPD at the same time. Also, many programmes have an upper age limit of 60 or 65 years.1,3,4 Another limitation is the very small number of donor organs available for transplantation, which means that in reality, less than 1% of patients with IPF will ever be able to get a transplant. For that reason, lung transplantation is not a suitable treatment for everybody with IPF. However, it can be a very successful option for a small proportion of patients.

Patient guide

Patient guide: Moving forward


Backgrounder: IPF Treatment

Your physician may address the possibility of a lung transplant as early as the time of diagnosis. The physician will evaluate whether you meet all the criteria for a lung transplant and will discuss the potential risks and benefits with you.

Could I receive a lung transplantation?

Expert video: Could I receive a lung transplantation?


  1. Orens JB., et al. International guidelines for the selection of lung transplant candidates: 2006 update--a consensus report from the Pulmonary Scientific Council of the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation. J Heart Lung Transplant Off Publ Int Soc Heart Transplant 2006;25:745–755.
  2. Thabut G., et al. Survival benefit of lung transplantation for patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2003;126:469–475.
  3. Meltzer EB., et al. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Orphanet J Rare Dis 2008;3:8.
  4. Raghu G., et al. An official ATS/ERS/JRS/ALAT statement: idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: evidence-based guidelines for diagnosis and management. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2011;183:788–824.

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