Laboratory Tests

Among the most basic tests done during an evaluation for lung transplantation is a blood test. A blood test is simple. It takes about 15 minutes and requires only that blood be drawn from a vein. It is best done after not eating or drinking anything for about 12 hours before the test.

A blood test gives the doctor information such as blood chemistry values. This includes measuring the amounts of potassium, sodium, cholesterol, triglycerides, liver function enzymes and electrolytes. It also shows whether or not there is an infection in the body, including herpes simplex, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, Epstein-Barr or other viruses. A blood test also shows whether a person is anemic. Anemia affects how much oxygen the blood can carry.

Men over the age of 40 will be given a PSA test to check for signs of prostate cancer. Women over the age of 40 will need a mammogram if they haven't had one in the past year. Women will also need a gynecological evaluation and PAP, if they haven't had one in the past year.

A colonoscopy or a sigmoidoscopy may also be needed if the patient hasn't had one within the recommended interval.

Urine tests will be given to check on how well the kidneys are working. A stool test to check for bleeding in the intestines may also be done.

Another test that is done for lung patients is measuring arterial blood gases. This five-minute test involved putting a needle into an artery in the wrist. It measures the amount of oxygen the blood is able to carry to body tissues.

Potential candidates for lung or heart and lung transplantation will also be given tests for tuberculosis and Valley fever.