Lung Transplant Program

Manitoba’s lung transplant program assesses patients for lung transplantation suitability and cares for patients who have received a lung transplant. Lung transplantation is a treatment option for a variety of end-stage lung diseases.
These can include:

Chronic obstructive lung diseases (COPD)

Interstitial Lung diseases

Pulmonary Vascular Disease

Lung Transplant Process

Initial Consultation
Patients are referred to a transplant respirologist at HSC Winnipeg for a first appointment. This appointment determines if someone is able to go forward with the assessment phase. In general, suitability to continue to a full assessment is decided according to the ISHLT Lung Transplant Referral Guidelines.

Physician to physician consults can be faxed to 204-787-8788.

Education Appointment
After the consultation, there is an Education Appointment. These sessions can be done individually or in a larger group setting.

Transplant Assessment
The Transplant Assessment is an in-depth process. Patients undergo a variety of medical tests and consultations to determine the suitability for lung transplant. The assessment can take weeks or even months to complete depending on any new medical issues or findings that testing uncovers. The assessments are usually done on an outpatient basis. Sometimes they are done as an inpatient.

Until the assessment is complete, lung transplant suitability cannot be determined. A patient cannot be listed for or receive a lung transplant without a full assessment.

Waiting List
After completion of the Transplant Assessment, patient files are reviewed by the Manitoba Lung Transplant Program to determine eligibility. If requirements are met, the patient becomes a candidate for referral to Edmonton.

The patient’s information and results are then sent to the Edmonton Lung Transplant Program.

Once received, there is a presentation and discussion of the case with the Edmonton Lung Transplant Program. If both programs agree that the patient is a good candidate, an offer is made to the patient to be put on the waitlist.

Being on the Wait List
After being accepted for transplantation, patients will meet with the lung transplant physiotherapist for an appropriate exercise program to keep the patient strong pre transplant.

Waiting for a transplant can be difficult. The wait can range from weeks to years, and depends on the availability and suitability of a donor organ, a patient’s medical condition and how long a patient has been on the list.

While patients wait, they attend a transplant clinic every one to three months so lung function and overall health can be monitored. Every three months, a telehealth session is arranged with the Edmonton team with the patient and their support person. A yearly reassessment is done to make sure transplantation is still possible.

Once suitable donor organs become available, the patient is contacted by the Edmonton team and must travel immediately to Edmonton for the surgery. After surgery and recovery, the patient returns to HSC Winnipeg to continue post-transplant care and follow-up. Post-transplant patients are regularly followed by the Adult Respiratory Clinic at HSC Winnipeg for ongoing care.