Lung Transplant Program Overview

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At the Lung Transplant Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, we evaluate infants, children and adolescents who are potential candidates for a lung transplant. We also care for children who have received transplanted lungs. Since the program’s inception in 1990, our Boston Children's team has performed over 85 single, bilateral and heart-lung transplants in children.

Our expertise

Our program is a multidisciplinary effort between the medical and surgical programs. at Boston Children's Hospital Our program is currently led by Gary Visner, DO, who directs the medical team, and Francis Fynn-Thompson, MD, who directs the surgical team.

The program is staffed by a team of pediatric specialists that includes:

  • transplant surgeonsFrieberger
  • transplant physicians
  • lung transplant nurse coordinator
  • pulmonologists
  • physical therapist
  • nutritionist
  • social worker
  • anesthesiologists
  • intensive care physicians
  • infectious disease physicians
  • cardiologists
  • otolaryngologists (ear, nose, and throat physicians)
  • psychiatrist/psychologist
  • financial coordinator

We offer expertise in lung transplantation in children with a variety of disease processes, including:

Our team also cares for children in need of lung re-transplantation, as well as those on ventilator support due to severe respiratory failure. Our program collaborates with the adult lung transplant program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, also in Boston.  Our partnership advances research on transplantation and allows clinicians to share best practices.

Did you know?

A bridge to lung transplant

In some cases, when a child is awaiting a lung transplant, he or she may need a special treatment plan that will medically support her breathing while waiting for donor lungs to become available. Or she may need a therapy that helps her build up the necessary strength to successfully undergo a transplant operation. Boston Children's clinicians offer an innovative technology that does all that, and allows the patient to remain alert and awake the entire time.   

The Quadrox membrane oxygenator is a lung-assist device that adds oxygen to the blood in the same way a healthy pair of lungs would. Traditionally, the Quadrox is used as part of ECMO, a special device therapy that doctors use to support a child who is waiting for a heart transplant. (During ECMO, the patient is attached to several machines and must sometimes be sedated to reduce the amount of oxygen their body uses.)

To better treat those patients who only needed lung assistance, not require the  complete assistance of ECMO, Boston Children's doctors developed a unique method to take the Quadrox device out of the ECMO process and offer it to patients in need. This means patients who use the Quadrox receive all the lung assistance they require without being subjected to the risks associated with ECMO. Patients remain awake, alert and are able to move and interact with their parents and caregivers while the Quadrox supplies their blood with oxygen.

Improving tolerance for pediatric lung transplants

Our research is aimed at preventing both short- and long-term lung transplant injury, the development of transplant tolerance and novel therapies for long-term acceptance of transplanted lungs. A new induction protocol, begun in 2008, has reduced acute cellular rejection first year post-transplant to less than 5%, compared to the expected 40% to 50%.

Jonathan



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The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO
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