A Second Chance for a New Beginning

Kathi was born with cystic fibrosis and was determined to live a full life with this devastating genetic disease. Soon after the birth of her twins, however, Kathi's care team at Penn determined that lung transplant was her only option.

Watch Kathi's Story
Kathi doing yoga

If you or a loved one has advanced-stage lung disease, a lung transplant could provide a second chance for a new beginning.

The Penn Lung Transplant Program is one of the world's most experienced, with results that exceed national averages. Our team of internationally acclaimed physicians, nurses and support staff provides compassionate and comprehensive care to you and your family throughout your lung transplant journey.

What Is Lung Transplant?

When treatments for end-stage lung disease are unsuccessful, your doctor may recommend a lung transplant. During a lung transplant, your surgeon removes the diseased lung and replaces it with a healthy lung from a donor. Depending on your situation, you may have one or both lungs replaced.

Types of Lung Transplants

Penn’s expertise allows us to offer a wide variety of lung transplant procedures, including:

  • Single lung
  • Bilateral sequential (double lung): The transplantation of both lungs, done one at a time during the same surgery.
  • Heart-lung transplant: We transplant both lungs and the heart from a single donor in one surgery. Only a few transplant centers in the United States offer this procedure.
  • Lung-liver transplant: We transplant both lungs and the liver from a single donor in one surgery. We are among a select few transplant centers nationwide offering this procedure.

Getting a Lung Transplant

Lung transplantation is a four-stage process:

  1. Referral, Consultation and Evaluation: If your doctor feels a lung transplant may be right for you, he or she sends us your medical records. You then consult with a member of our team to determines whether a lung transplant evaluation is right for you. If it is, we perform a complete health assessment to determine your best treatment options.
  2. Waiting list: If our team determines that you are a good candidate for lung transplantation, we place you on the national lung transplant waiting list.
  3. Surgery: When we find a donor lung match for you, we alert you to travel to the hospital for your transplant surgery.
  4. After transplant: After your leave the hospital with your new lung, you will come in regularly to meet with your team for clinical monitoring and physical therapy. We will also check you in periodic follow-up visits for years to come.

Lung Transplant Program: The Penn Medicine Advantage

Our program’s vision is to "give patients a new breath of life by providing the best patient- and family-centered care through collaborative and coordinated teamwork, cutting-edge research and innovation." National rankings uphold our unwavering dedication to our patients and families. Our pulmonary program is the only one in the Philadelphia region ranked among the top 20 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.

We provide comprehensive care to people who need lung transplants due a wide variety of conditions, including cystic fibrosis, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary hypertension, scleroderma and other connective tissue diseases and acute lung injury. We also offer lung transplantation for pulmonary complications related to COVID-19. When you come to Penn for a lung transplant, you’ll find:

  • Excellent outcomes: Penn has performed far more lung transplants than most programs -- almost 1,500 procedures over 30 years. That depth of experience helps us achieve excellent outcomes that exceed national averages and top the list of all transplant centers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.
  • World-class health care team: Our fellowship-trained physicians are respected throughout the world for their expertise in lung transplantation. Many are named among America's Top Doctors and Best Doctors in America. The nursing team at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania consistently earns Magnet Recognition®, the highest honor awarded for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. You can trust us for outstanding care. Meet our lung transplant treatment teams.
  • High-risk and dual-organ transplants: Our skilled surgeons are experts in performing high-risk and complex transplants, even for people who were told elsewhere that transplant is not possible. As part of the Penn Transplant Institute, we have extensive experience in dual-organ transplants, including heart-lung and lung-liver.
  • Expedited evaluation: We know your time is valuable, so we complete the tests and evaluations you need to be considered for a lung transplant in just three or four days.
  • More lung transplants through innovation: Using advanced therapies allows us to offer lung transplant to more people. We pioneered ex vivo lung perfusion, a treatment to make more donor lungs available for transplant. We are also a leader in extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) that breathes for you while you wait for donor lungs.
  • Extensive research for new therapies: Penn is one of the nation's top academic medical centers, and members of our lung transplant team are not just physicians. They’re also known worldwide for their research. Their work gives our patients access to therapies only available in lung transplant clinical trials and emerging research for advanced lung disease.
  • Compassionate care for life: The lung transplant process is a lifelong journey. As we guide you from evaluation through surgery and beyond, we spend time getting to know you and your family. Many patients tell us we are their second family, an honor we cherish.
  • Home away from home: Transplants patients, families and caregivers can rest and rejuvenate in the Clyde F. Barker Penn Transplant House, a low-cost, comfortable guest house conveniently located near the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Request an Appointment with a Lung Transplant Specialist

Call 215-662-6200 to speak to one of our lung transplant experts. You can also request an appointment using our online form.

In This Section

Lung Transplant Eligibility and Commitment

Are you a candidate for a lung transplant? Explore our lung transplant criteria and eligibility to determine if you qualify for a lung replacement.

Lung Transplant Support Services

We provide comprehensive support services and resources to help you and your caregivers throughout your lung transplant journey.

Treatment Teams

View a list of the Penn Lung Transplant Program's team members, ranging in skill and expertise.

Lung Transplant Process

What is the process of a lung transplant? Through the consultation, waiting list, surgery, and post-op, Penn professionals are with you at every step.

Lung Transplant Support Groups

Support groups are offered online and in-person for lung transplant patients and caregivers. View the calendar.

Penn Difference - Lung Transplant Program

There are many reasons why patients and their families choose Penn Medicine for a lung transplant. Read about our exceptional patient outcomes and our commitment to quality patient care and safety.

Lung Transplant Frequently Asked Questions

Take a look at our list of frequently asked questions about lung transplants at Transplant Institute.

Lung Transplant Clinical Trials

Penn Lung Transplant performs research studies to enhance treatment options. Take a look at our current clinical trials.

Patient Stories

Watch a video about Penn Medicine patients who underwent a successful lung transplant.

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