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Lung transplant and age

Hello everyone.  Please be patient with me as I am new here and I am accessing this forum through a tablet.  Typing with one finger is difficult but I will endeavour to make myself understood as best I can.

I am 67 years old and I have COPD.  I smoked for thirty years (quit 17 yrs ago), and I worked as a welder for about fifty years.  My pulmonary doctor told me that the welding did far more damage than the smoking did, but either way my lungs are pretty much shot at this point.

Six months ago I was taken into the emergency room with pneumonia.  My O2 level was below 40 and I was a real mess.  I have been on oxygen ever since my release from the hospital.

Initially, at the hospital, they started me out at 4 liters but my O2 level wouldn't stay above 90. Over the course of the next five months my doctor found that at 5 liters I could maintain 90 as long as I didn't walk, but if I walked twenty or thirty feet my level went down below 80.  They moved it up to 6 liters and had the same results.  

The last time I went to my pulmonary doctor he brought up the idea of a transplant.  I had never given a transplant much thought but figured it wouldn't hurt to find out more so he referred me to the San Antonio transplant center for a consultation.

When I got home from his office I went online and found this forum.  It is full of great information and I've figured out a lot just by reading what others have posted.  However, I have noticed that, with few exceptions, most people posting here are 30 to 40 years younger than me.  I don't know if there is an age point past which they consider transplant surgery too risky or what.  Can somebody out there explain why there is not more people over 65 in this forum?

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  • Hi William,

    Due to IPF, I had a single lung transplant 9-1/2 years ago at age 69.  Now at 78 I look back and marvel at the medical technology that brought me here.  Book luck!

  • Hello Bill, I'm 58 and had a bilateral lung transplant on new years day 2017. My recovery is going smoothly with some minor set backs. Side effects from the meds impact my day to day but all of that is much better than trying to live one day at 38% lung function. My diagnosis was degenerative bronchiolitis obliterans. It crept up on me while hiding out as athsma for the most part. I am grateful for this opportunity and suggest you give this some serious consideration. It is no walk in the park by any means. I look forward to each day on the recovery side of the street. It was a much bleaker, darker place for me when I was on the sick and getting sicker side of the street. Blessings to you and yours.
  • There are plenty of people in our "older" age bracket walking around with successful lung transplants.  I just turned seventy in May.  I received a single lung transplant 2 years ago, with very few complications.  This is the first time I am posting because I have been very busy enjoying my new life without being attached to an O2 machine(4 Years).  I posed the same question to my TX doctor about not reading about older people.  He told me the same thing.  Get out there and enjoy the new life.  I waited over two years for my almost perfect match.  

  • There really is no limit for transplants strictly because of age. Transplantation is the recognized treatment of choice for some long term issues and is more based upon the viability of the individual recipient relative to their other health problems, future quality of life, and organ availability. Percentages of older organ recipients have been increasing.   I do hope you receive a Tx offer soon, you weren't ready to "fold your hand" just yet anyway..  I placed a few of links about age and lung transplants below, I hope this helps. 

    Loyola Article (oldest to receive)

    Mayo Clinic Tx Eligibility Guidelines

    N.Y. Times article

    A.S.TH.S. PDF

    At Age 74, Loyola Patient Is Oldest in Illinois to Receive Lung Transplant
    At age 74, Loyola University Medical Center patient Brian Andersen recently became what is believed to be the oldest patient in Illinois to receive a…
    • Thank you for this response, it helped a lot.

      At Age 74, Loyola Patient Is Oldest in Illinois to Receive Lung Transplant
      At age 74, Loyola University Medical Center patient Brian Andersen recently became what is believed to be the oldest patient in Illinois to receive a…
  • They do a lot of kidney transplants for people over 65. Not sure about lungs though.

    I'm sure Hostess Rise can tell you because she had a lung transplant!
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