Lung Transplant
Complications and Risks

Lung Transplant Complications

The transplant and hospital teams will watch closely for any complications — rejection, infection, bleeding — after the surgery and work proactively to prevent them whenever possible.

We will also educate you on what symptoms you should look for once your child is home, and how to check things like blood pressure on an ongoing basis. And of course, we will always be available for any questions or concerns you may have.


It is possible for your child’s body to recognize the new lungs as not their own. The body will naturally want to get rid of, or reject them. Your child will be on medicines to help prevent and treat rejection. In rare cases when the rejection is not controlled, your child may need to be re-transplanted.


Two factors determine the risk of acquiring an infection after transplant:

  • How immunosuppressed your child is
  • Exposure to infectious organisms (viruses, bacteria, etc.)

Some general tips to help avoid infections and other complications after lung transplant:

  • Wash your hands every time you enter and leave your child’s hospital room, and ensure other visitors do the same.
  • Have your child regularly wash their hands.
  • Avoid people who are sick. Ask friends and family not to come visit — at the hospital or once you’re home — if they are sick. Chickenpox can be especially dangerous.
  • Everyone in the home or who helps to care for your child should get a flu shot.

Your child's new lungs are the most common sites for infection. Unlike other transplanted organs, the lungs are constantly exposed to the air we breathe. Once your child is home and starts back in their normal routine, there are some reasonable measures you can take to control your child's exposure to infectious agents without limiting their lifestyle too much. Avoid:

  • Hay
  • Compost piles
  • Bat caves
  • Duck or bird stools
  • Cleaning of a litter box
  • Construction sites