90 pc survival rate with lung transplant for patients with PF

Lung transplants now offer hope to some patients with progressing PF.
90 pc survival rate with lung transplant for patients with PF
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CHENNAI: Breathing is the most natural of human functions, but a scar in the lungs makes the tissue stiff and difficult to get oxygen into the blood.

The tissue thickening is called pulmonary fibrosis, which leads to shortness of breath, eventually making it hard for the person to do even the simplest activities like walking.

“All over the world, including India, the most common form of interstitial lung disease (ILD) is idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). At least 44% of patients with IPF are smokers, though some cases are familial pulmonary fibrosis,” said Dr Govini Balasubramani, head-CTVS, heart-lung transplant, Fortis Hospital, Vadapalani.

He added that patients with pulmonary fibrosis should avoid smoking, because it is the primary cause of lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), damage lung tissue, affects skin health and causes bad breath.

“PF patients must avoid indoor and outdoor pollution. They should wear masks to protect their lungs against harsh chemicals, and be up to date with adult immunisations, including flu and pneumonia vaccines,” explained Dr Govini. “These vaccines help to fight diseases effectively and also reduce inflammation caused by preventable illnesses.”

Though there is no cure for damage caused to the lungs, pulmonary therapy and medications can sometimes offer improvements in quality of life.

Lung transplants now offer hope to some patients with progressing PF.

“This is the most common lung transplant in India. Out of 100 transplants at least 55% are done for pulmonary fibrosis. Mostly, the expectation of survival is less than 50% among those who are affected with any pulmonary disease. So, at that stage when the transplant is performed, the survival rate jumps to 90%,” said Dr Srinivas Rajagopala, senior consultant, Interventional Pulmonology & Sleep Medicine, Kauvery Hospital.

Health experts stated that while the long-term impact of COVID-19 on the lungs is not yet completely known, those affected severely during the first two bouts of COVID have shown lung stiffening and scarring.

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