Advancements in Lung Transplants with the Cleveland Clinic Team


A trio of experts from the Cleveland Clinic join Dr. Rizzo for a talk on lung transplant trends and challenges in the US.

Episode highlights

0:19 The history of lung transplant
6:18 The Cleveland Clinic Lung Transplant Program
7:32 Indications for lung transplant
9:31 Referral strategies
11:46 Appropriate transplant studies
14:28 Cleveland Clinic’s referral reach
16:11 Lung Allocation Scores
23:57 Changing survival rates
29:44 Single vs double lung transplant
32:44 COVID-19 lung transplants
36:01 Pulmonary rehab post-transplant
39:46 Racial, gender disparities
47:21 Ongoing research
54:48 Outro

There are approximately just 2000 lung transplants conducted annually in the US—a rate which pales significantly to counts of yearly kidney and liver transplants, and is similar to the rate of heart transplants.

The count is in spite of numerous opportunities borne by the growing rate of possibly lethal chronic lung disease in the country, as well as by the fact that lung transplant has become a refined practice since first attempted a half-century ago.

Lung transplant is an infrequent strategy, and comes with a litany of particular parameters for pre- and post-procedure care to assure success. So as long as referrals aren’t met nor sought out, it may be a perpetuating issue of too few practices, too many missed opportunities.

It helps to learn the ropes from a nationally-leading transplant team.

This month’s episode of Lungcast features a trio of experts from the Cleveland Clinic Lung Transplant Program:

  • Maryam Valapour, MD, MPP, Pulmonologist and Director of Lung Transplant Outcomes at the Clinic, as well as Senior Investigator at the US Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients.
  • Wayne Tsuang, MD, MHS, Staff Physician in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
  • Carli Lehr, MD, MS, a Fellow in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine

The 3 surgeons, representing the first panel interview guests on the monthly American Lung Association (ALA) podcast series, joined ALA chief medical officer Al Rizzo, MD, for a discussion on lung transplant referral, research, and resourcing strategies.

Along the way, the team also hit on the intricacies of transplant strategy inside and outside of dominating healthcare issues, including COVID-19 and gender outcome disparities.

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