How is my care coordinated between my doctor and Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center?
Usually the referring physician will speak to the UCLA transplant surgeon or pulmonologist to discuss your medical condition and history. Referrals are received through the Heart and Lung Transplant office at (310) 825-6068. If you are deemed a candidate, an outpatient transplant evaluation will be arranged. For patients who do not live locally, an inpatient evaluation, lasting 2-3 days can be arranged.
What happens at the evaluation appointment?
Most outpatient evaluations will be conducted over a period of 1-2 weeks. During this period, the patient will see the transplant surgeon, pulmonologist, social worker, psychiatrist, transplant coordinator, financial counselor, dietitian, as well as other specialists if needed. Several diagnostic tests may have to be performed to determine the patient’s candidacy for transplantation. For inpatients, the evaluation will be performed to during their 2-3 days of hospitalization.
Once the evaluation is completed, each patient is presented and discussed at the weekly transplant conference. In this conference, a multi-disciplinary decision will be made regarding the candidacy of the patient for transplantation. The patient and the referring physician will be informed of the recommendation of the team.
What are the options for transplantation?
If a patient is a candidate for lung transplantation, then he/she will be listed as a potential recipient with the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). The waiting time is dependent on several factors and may vary from several months to years.
While on the list, patients will be followed closely by the referring physician and the lung transplant team. Each candidate will be seen in the transplant clinic every 3 months to assess his/her pulmonary and general status. Any changes in health condition will need to be communicated to the transplant team as soon as feasible.
Who will coordinate my care at UCLA?
During the pre and post transplant period, the pulmonologist, surgeon and transplant coordinator will follow you. After the transplant the transplant team will see you daily. Prior to discharge, the transplant coordinator will educate you and your family on the medications, the warning signs of rejection, and issues around daily activities. This coordinator will continue to follow you and will be the primary contact person as needed. A transplant coordinator is on call 24 hours a day for any urgent matter.
How do I prepare for a transplant?
While on the waiting list, you will continue to be followed by your physician and the lung transplant team. Communication with other lung transplant recipients and/or participation in support groups may further educate you about the process as well as alleviate any anxiety you may have. Participation in a group can be arranged through the transplant coordinators.
How long will I be in the hospital?
The average length of stay for most lung transplant recipients is 10-12 days. Prior to discharge, the transplant coordinator will facilitate the organization of all services needed for transition from hospital to home. The transplant coordinator will also be the primary person to educate you and your family regarding the medications as well as the expected post-transplant care.
Who will take care my health needs after I leave the hospital?
During the first month after lung transplantation, you will be seen regularly in the outpatient clinic. A report of all of your visits and your progress will be sent to your referring physician who will see you for health maintenance and non-transplant related problems. Lung transplant recipients will be seen in the transplant clinic on a regular basis indefinitely.