Health Alert:

See the latest Coronavirus Information including testing sites, visitation restrictions, appointments and scheduling, and more.

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, Double Lung Transplant

When Andy Vavra was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, he felt like his life was over. The Lung Transplant Program at Penn Medicine helped him get back to the things he loves.

When Andy was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, he felt like his life was over. This rare condition causes scarring inside the lungs, preventing oxygen from reaching the blood. Andy experienced headaches, mobility impairment and was forced to give up the hobbies he loved, like his riding his motorcycle. He was on oxygen and his Penn pulmonologist, Dr. Vivek Ahya, explained that a lung transplant would be the next step for Andy.

It was also discovered that Andy had aortic regurgitation, a heart condition that, if left untreated, can cause heart failure and is life threatening. In order to qualify for the lung transplant, Andy would first have surgery to repair his aortic valve. Dr. Joseph Bavaria, a cardiac surgeon at Penn, operated and Andy’s determination to diet and exercise helped him qualify as a lung transplant candidate.

As he waited for the transplant call to come, Andy managed his lung disease and tried to remain active, despite being on oxygen. When the day came, Andy headed to Penn and straight into surgery with Dr. Edward Cantu. The transplant surgery went well, and as Andy recovered he decided he would make the most of the gift of life his donor and care team had given him. Soon after leaving the hospital he bought a bicycle and slowly began riding on the trails around his home. Every day he felt himself getting stronger: less than a year after his transplant surgery, Andy completed a Home to HUP ride, bicycling nearly 39 miles from his home to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

More Patient Stories

Share This Page: