Lung Transplant

Our multidisciplinary transplantation teams provide patient-centered care and individualized treatment plans

In addition to your transplantation specialists who will care for you, many others will partner with you to provide supportive care that treats your whole person – body, mind and spirit. Your team will include: your surgeon, pulmonologist, transplant nurse coordinator, nurse practitioners, procurement nurses, chaplains, physical therapists, dietitians, financial coordinators, psychologists, clinical pharmacists, social workers, support groups and even home-care nurses, if needed. If you would like to make an appointment or need assistance in finding the appropriate physician, please call us at (708) 327-5864 or (800) 424-6313.

 
5Transplant Center Lung SpecialistsClick Title to Open

Transplant Pulmonologists 3

Daniel Dilling
Daniel Dilling
M.D., FACP, FCCP, FAASM
Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
Lung Disease, Lung Transplantation, COPD, Emphysema, Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, Lymphangiole...
James Gagermeier
James Gagermeier
M.D., ABIM
Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
Pulmonary Hypertension, Lung Transplantation, Interventional Pulmonology
Erin Lowery
Erin Lowery
M.D.,M.S.
Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
Bronchiectasis, Asthma, Lung Transplantation, Cystic Fibrosis

Cardiovascular Thoracic Surgeons 2

Mamdouh Bakhos
Mamdouh Bakhos
M.D., FACS
Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Heart Transplant, Lung Transplant, Mechanical Circulatory Support (LVAD), Heart Valve Repair, Vascular...
Jeffrey Schwartz
Jeffrey Schwartz
M.D., FACS
Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Heart Transplant, Lung Transplant, Aortic Valve Surgery, Mechanical Circulatory Support (LVAD), Heart...

Lung Transplant Support StaffClick Title to Open

Patients who have been told they might need a transplant will first meet with a pre-transplant nurse coordinator. These staff members are all registered nurses who have an interest and extensive experience in the care of patients with chronic illnesses and transplants.

Your pre-transplant coordinator is responsible for coordinating your care prior to the transplant, from the time of your initial referral until the time your transplant is received. The evaluation process begins with clinic appointments during which you will meet your multidisciplinary transplant team. Your team will include: your transplant pulmonologist, surgeon, nurse coordinator, nurse practitioners, procurement nurses, chaplains, physical therapists, dietitians, financial coordinators, clinical pharmacists, social workers, psychologists and transplant chaplains.Your coordinator will provide education that covers the process of transplantation, psychosocial and financial issues, the risks and benefits of transplantation and medication issues. The nurse coordinator will want to make sure you understand all of the material and will encourage you to ask questions so that you understand it.

Your coordinator also will make appointments for the various tests you will need to determine whether you are a good candidate for transplant. Sometimes these tests can be completed in one day, but that will depend on the health of the patient. Our coordinators always cater to the needs of our patients. If completing the whole list of tests in one day would be too overwhelming, then the exams are scheduled over several days and at the most convenient time that we can accommodate.

When all the tests are completed, the team meets again to determine if transplantation is the best option for you. Medical, psychosocial and financial workups will be reviewed at that time. If the team approves eligibility, your name will be put on the waiting list.

After you have been listed, you will be asked to keep in contact with the transplant team and provide periodic updates on your health and insurance status. You will be sent education materials as well as a questionnaire that needs to be updated annually. While waiting for a transplant, you should carefully follow the health maintenance schedule designed specifically for you. If anything changes with your situation – health, insurance, residence, availability, phone numbers, vacations – you must notify your coordinator. The coordinator will maintain contact with you and your physicians during the waiting period so that your tests and records are current.

Then finally the day arrives with the good news. A match has been found. Your nurse coordinator will make the arrangements for your admission and surgery.

Once the transplant surgery is completed, you will then work with a post-transplant nurse coordinator, who will provide care and support for you and your family. You will meet your post-transplant coordinator during your hospital stay. Your coordinator will help you with discharge planning and provide extensive education on transplant medication, physical activity, diet restrictions and required follow-up care. Your coordinator also will schedule follow-up lab and doctors’ appointments and, if need be, help you submit disability papers. You will be followed quite closely during the first year after your transplant, which will include frequent lab and clinic visits. Your coordinator also will schedule a bronchoscopy every 3 months in the first year after your surgery. One thing that your coordinator will stress is the importance of taking all your anti-rejection medications every day, preferably at the same time each day.

 

Loyola’s transplant chaplains are essential members of our patients’ health-care team. Just like the doctors and nurses they work with, their experience is specific to the Transplant Center. They understand the emotional, spiritual and physical needs that are particular to our transplant patients. Our chaplains listen for the needs beneath the medical needs – that which is emotional, spiritual and sacramental. They know that even though symptoms may be similar, each person’s illness is unique; each person’s journey to healing is individual.

Our chaplains start the journey alongside our patients and their families and are available through all critical stages, providing a confidential outlet for hopes and fears, helping to facilitate important decisions.

Transplant chaplains are an outreach of support that our patients and families can count on when looking to find meaning in their situation, along with the resources of faith and spirituality to cope and heal.

Other Pastoral Care Services include:

  • The Paul V. Galvin Memorial Chapel is open 24 hours a day and is located on the lower level of the hospital near the East Elevators, those nearest to the gift shop.
  • Chapel services and a wide variety of other religious programs are televised to patient rooms on Channel 4.
  • Upon your request, we can contact your church, parish, synagogue, mosque or house of worship.
  • Catholic: Catholic Mass is celebrated at noon Sunday through Friday and on Holy Days (there is no Mass on Saturday). Bedside Communion, Anointing of the Sick, Reconciliation (confession) and emergency Baptism are available upon request.
  • Protestant: We offer bedside prayers, visits and Communion.
  • Jewish: Pastoral Care Services can arrange for a rabbi to visit.

Your clinical pharmacists will provide you with instruction on the medication that you will need to take after your transplant. They will also assist your physicians on their rounds when you are in the hospital after surgery. Your clinical pharmacists will evaluate the drugs you are prescribed and any side effects you may experience. They will also be on the watch for any possible negative drug interactions. As a key member of your medical team, they will monitor and adjust, if necessary, the anti-rejection medication that you will need to take. Your clinical pharmacists also will work closely with your nurse coordinator to ensure that you understand what medications you will be taking and what schedule you must follow.

Your transplant dietitian’s role is to ensure that you understand your individualized nutrition plan and are motivated about following it. At your initial visit, your dietitian will assess your gastrointestinal symptoms, consider possible vitamin and mineral deficiencies, conduct a nutrition/weight history and provide dietary education.  At the end of this visit, the dietitian will help you create nutritional goals and - if further education or intervention is required - provide you with additional direction.  Your transplant dietitian will meet with you during each of your hospital visits, adjusting your goals based on your progress and medical condition. With any additional nutrition concerns, you are strongly encouraged to call or to send an e-mail to your dietitian.  

At Loyola we know that the thought of a transplant can be overwhelming, not just emotionally but financially speaking as well. But our financial coordinators are well-versed in the language of insurance and will do the heavy lifting for you. They will answer any questions that you have about your insurance coverage and the bills that you receive. They will find out if your insurance covers procedures at Loyola and get an insurance case manager assigned to your case. Your financial coordinator also will determine if your insurance coverage includes work-up tests, the operation, post-op care and that you can meet the deductible and your out-of-pocket maximum. In addition, they will work with your nurses and insurance case manager to make sure that your insurance has officially approved you for a transplant and will pre-certify you for admissions to ensure that there are no penalty charges in your bills.

Nurse practitioners work collaboratively with physicians and other members of your medical team to provide you with exceptional care, starting with your transplant evaluation and testing all the way through post-transplant management.

Nurse practitioners care for patients when they are in the hospital or at a doctor’s visit. They prescribe medications, diagnose patients and work with physicians to develop treatment plans.  They are also experts in patient education before and after transplantation.  Nurse practitioners are adept at recognizing and understanding the signs of rejection and infection. They will instruct patients about the importance of timely medical treatment and the serious consequences if medical advice isn’t followed or symptoms are ignored. They also work closely with patients to manage transplant-related  complications.

Our physical therapists provide evaluations, rehabilitation and treatment for our transplant patients. The goals in physical therapy are to educate and assist you in achieving an optimal level of independence and function, and to promote your health and rehabilitation. You have been coping with your illness, which puts you in a weakened state. Your physical therapist will help you recover your strength and movement.

As part of the transplant team at Loyola, procurement nurse coordinators are closely involved in the complicated and detailed process of coordinating your transplant. The procurement coordinators are on call every day of the year to help facilitate organ donation and transplant.  Procurement coordinators not only assist you with the transplant evaluation and testing, but also serve as key facilitators for listing and maintaining the appropriate status on the transplant wait list.  You can be assured that you will be guided through the process of becoming a transplant candidate.  The procurement coordinators will be providing assistance and encouragement every step of the way.

The transplant process can be an emotionally difficult time for patients and their families. Therefore, many transplant teams across the country, including Loyola, have psychologists as part of the transplant team. Often patients are confused about the rationale for seeing a psychologist during the work-up for a medical procedure. Research has shown that prior history of mood problems, substance use issues, lack of social support and noncompliance are all associated with worse medical outcomes after surgery. Psychologists can help to identify and address these issues prior to transplant to help improve outcomes.

A transplant psychologist’s main roles are to conduct an initial evaluation to determine patients’ candidacy for transplant from a psychosocial perspective, and to provide ongoing supportive follow-up throughout the waiting, recovery and rehabilitative phases of transplant. 

During the initial evaluation, patients may be asked questions about their current lifestyle, mood, coping skills, social support, adherence to doctors’ recommendations and overall functioning. This information is invaluable to the treatment team before and after your transplant surgery because it provides clues about how the patient will react in high-stress situations and insight into the patient’s coping strengths and weaknesses. The goal is not to find reasons why the patient should not be approved for transplant. Instead, the goal is to identify areas that need to be addressed to help patients do well with transplant. Our transplant psychologists are committed to providing the necessary care to help patients function and cope adequately during all phases of the transplant process.

Transplant social workers are involved in all aspects of the transplant process. Social workers are skilled in psychosocial assessment and provide a range of services for patients and their families. These services include individual patient and family counseling, patient education and assistance with support groups and financial resources. Social workers see patients in the hospital, outpatient clinics and are available for phone consultation.

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