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Deciding to have a lung transplant requires a substantial commitment by you and your loved ones. At the Penn Medicine Lung Transplant Program, we make sure you fully understand the lung transplant process and ensure it’s the right decision for you.

What Is the Process of a Lung Transplant?

The lung transplant process has four steps: referral, consultation and evaluation; waiting list; surgery and post-lung transplant.

1. Lung Transplant Referral, Consultation and Evaluation

When your doctor refers you to Penn for a lung transplant, he or she sends us your medical records and other details about your health. You then consult with one of our physicians about your health. If we feel that a lung transplant evaluation is right for you, we work with you to schedule it.

The lung transplant evaluation takes only three to four days at the Hospital of the University Pennsylvania (HUP) in Philadelphia. When possible, we collaborate with your local physician team to complete some testing closer to home. In a week or two when all test results are in, our team meets to go over the results. Then we present our recommendation to you and your family. Learn more about the lung transplant referral, consultation and evaluation.

2. Lung Waiting List

If together we determine you are a good candidate for lung transplantation, we place you on the national lung transplant waiting list. Learn more about the lung waiting list.

3. Lung Transplant Surgery

When lungs from a donor become available, a Penn transplant pulmonologist and surgeon assess their condition to determine if they are right for you. If so, we call you to come to the hospital and the team prepares you for surgery. Learn more about lung transplant surgery.

4. After a Lung Transplant

The period after your lung transplant is the most critical. We monitor you closely to ensure continued healing. When you leave the hospital, your job is to attend all follow-up appointments with your physicians, nurse practitioners and therapists for the best possible recovery. Learn more about recovering after a lung transplant.

The Lung Transplant Process: Why Choose Penn Medicine?

At every stage of the lung transplant process, you have an entire team of dedicated professionals working with you and your family. We’re here to help you through every step. Throughout your time with us you’ll experience:

  • Unparalleled expertise: Our internationally recognized lung transplant experts have completed almost 1,500 lung and heart-lung transplants over the past 30 years. Penn is one of the nation's top hospitals for pulmonary and lung surgery, so you can count on us for leading-edge treatments and compassionate care with outcomes that exceed national averages.
  • Expedited evaluation: We respect your time, so your evaluation for a lung transplant at Penn takes only three to four days in Philadelphia.
  • Teamwork focused on you: All members of your Penn care team work together on your behalf. In your corner are world-class pulmonologists, surgeons, nurses, pharmacists, dietitians, therapists, social workers and other support professionals ensuring you have the best holistic care. Meet our multidisciplinary lung transplant team. 
  • Personalized care: Even though we do an exceptionally high number of lung transplants, you are not just a number. We get to know you and your family personally and treat you with the same compassionate care we would extend to our own families. We are committed to personalized medicine.
  • Lifelong partnership: Your Penn team stays with you after recovery to ensure you have the treatments, knowledge and resources you need for long-term success.
  • Support from other patients and caregivers: We understand that other patients and caregivers are a critical source of support. Our ongoing lung transplant support groups are welcoming places of hope and encouragement where you can connect with people who understand what you’re going through.
  • Telemedicine: During the lung transplant process, some appointments can be completed online through telemedicine. This service saves you a trip while providing you the care you need when you need it. 

Andy's Gift to his Donor and Doctors

With idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, the simplest tasks were difficult for Andy Vavra. After undergoing a double lung transplant at the Penn Transplant Institute, he wanted to return the gift to his donor and doctors with his "Home to HUP" ride. Watch Andy's story.

Request an Appointment with a Lung Transplant Specialist

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

  • Lung Transplant Referral, Consultation and Evaluation

    After a referral and consultation, our expedited lung transplant evaluation and assessment will help you learn what to expect with your procedure.

  • Lung Transplant Waiting List

    If you are waiting for a lung, lean on Penn experts to help you evaluate your condition and determine your placement on the lung transplant list.

  • Lung Transplant Surgery Procedure

    It is essential for lung transplant surgery patients to know the lung transplant procedure steps, surgery risks, and rejection and success rates.

  • Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion

    Ex vivo lung perfusion is a procedure used to minimize swelling in donor lungs in an effort to make them suitable for transplantation. Learn how Penn is a leader in this technology.

  • Recovery and Life After Lung Transplant

    Our lung transplant recovery process promotes quick rehabilitation for your body to accept its new lungs. Learn about life after a lung transplant.

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