Once Duke gets an offer for a set of lungs a team reviews all the information about the donor lungs. They look at size, blood type, antibodies listing, etc. Then, the transplant team will call one or more patients to come into the hospital for transplant. They often call multiple patients because until the docs have actually looked at the lungs, they can't be sure which patient would be best served by them.
Duke has flown all over the country to retrieve lungs and, just like in the movies, they fly them back and the docs take a look at them to determine if they are usable (sadly they can deteriorate before they can be transplanted). If usable, the team then decide which patient should receive them.
Then they transplant!
So the short list is:
- get listed
- be high enough on the list to receive calls for transplant
- wait for the right donor lungs in the right geographic area
- wait for the right antibody match
- then it will be a go!
My friend Susan had a LAS of 64 (that is really really high) and she just got transplanted Sunday night! That was such great news because Susan was so sick but she, like me, had a lot of antibodies that they needed to try and get rid of. I was worried about Susan because of how sick she was. Duke's normal LAS score for transplant patients is between 30 & 40.
Oh, one other piece of info...
Five years ago no hospital would transplant a patient with antibodies. I would have died instead of receiving new lungs. Duke has one of the most high-tech, state-of-the-art HLA labs in the country and they can identify and measure antibodies to the point that they can be dealt with. Apparently Duke provides this lab service to most of the hospitals on the East coast. There are still very few hospitals that will transplant a patient with antibodies and I have a slew of them. We still don't have the results of the chemo treatments on my antibodies.
I'll keep you posted.
Love to all,
Lee, Wendy and Missy