Lung Transplant

Lung transplantation is a challenging process, but you can feel confident in choosing UC San Diego Health for your care. We are dedicated to helping you breathe easier, live longer and enjoy a better life.

If you have advanced lung disease and need a transplant, you will want an experienced team with high patient survival rates. Trust our internationally renowned lung transplantation program at the Center for Transplantation.

We have performed hundreds of lifesaving lung transplants and are a national leader in patient survival rates. Plus, we are the only hospital system in San Diego County with a lung transplant program.

We are committed to offering compassionate and innovative care customized to your needs, from initial evaluation to surgery and beyond.

Who Is a Candidate for Lung Transplant?

A lung transplant may be recommended for someone who has severe lung disease and who:

  • Doesn't respond well to other medical treatments and therapies
  • Has a limited life expectancy without a transplant

Patients who may need a lung transplant include those with irreversible, life-threatening lung diseases such as:

We also have expertise in managing complex illnesses, coronary artery disease, valvular heart disease and multidrug-resistant infections. Our transplant teams are experienced in multi-organ transplants as well.

Referrals: We welcome new referrals by physicians as well as self-referrals. We work closely with your current doctors to provide continuity of care and a team approach.

Why Choose Us?

Since our lung transplantation program was founded in 1989, we have helped improve the lives of hundreds of patients. UC San Diego Health patients benefit from:

  • Unmatched experience: We have performed 729 lung transplants — including 60 in 2023 — demonstrating our experience in achieving a high volume of transplants safely and successfully.
  • Highest-quality care and experience: As part of the region’s only academic health system, our physicians and researchers are at the forefront of the latest surgical approaches and medical therapies that benefit you. Our program is certified by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), which manages the nation's organ transplant system and includes a transplant waitlist.
  • National leader in survival rates: Our program is part of a Pulmonary and Critical Care specialty that is ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Our one-year patient survival rates for lung transplants exceed the national average, placing us among the nation's best transplant centers by the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR). Learn about our high transplant survival rates.

Paying for Your Transplant

Rely on our financial coordinator to help you with every financial aspect of your transplant surgery. UC San Diego Health accepts most major insurance plans for transplant services.

View Transplant Plans Accepted

What to Expect in Lung Transplant Process

Our main goal is to give you options and strategies to live longer and healthier.

Comprehensive evaluation: We will review your medical history and provide a comprehensive evaluation, which includes blood and urine tests, diagnostic tests, psychological and social evaluation, and recommendations for routine health maintenance before surgery.

Exceptional teamwork and communications: If we determine that you are eligible for a lung transplant, we will bring together a multidisciplinary team that will review potential risks and benefits to help you make the most informed decision. It includes transplant surgeons, pulmonologists, transplant coordinators, nurse practitioners, dietitians, social workers, psychiatrists / psychologists, physical therapists, respiratory therapists and speech therapists. It may also include infectious disease specialists, gastroenterologists and cardiologists if needed. We will communicate with your doctor's office and keep them informed about your condition throughout the transplant process.

Successful surgery and recovery assistance: Your transplant team will explain the procedure, which requires a hospital stay of several days, and help prepare you physically and mentally for surgery and recovery. We will work with you and your caregivers to get the care you need after discharge. After you go home, we will monitor your health and the functioning of your transplanted organ, and offer follow-up visits and care.

"Our program has grown tremendously, with an intentional focus on the patient's well-being, innovative treatments and a proactive, interdisciplinary care model for complex cases."
Eugene Golts, MD 
Surgical Director
Lung Transplant Program

Follow-Up for Patients and Families

Our lung transplant coordinators guide you through every step of your lung transplant journey. We keep you informed about all the information and tests needed for evaluation, waitlist, surgery and post-transplant care. We follow you after surgery and are on call 24/7 for urgent matters.

Many of our patients need to relocate to San Diego temporarily for their medical care. UC San Diego Health offers you and your family comfortable and affordable housing at the Bannister Family House.

"We treat the recipient and honor the donor who gifted the lungs for our patient to survive. Our goal is for patients to live longer, live well and thrive following lung transplantation."
Kamyar Afshar, DO
Lung Transplant Program

Lung Transplant Support Group

For more information about these events, call our Lung Transplant Program at 858-657-5050.

  • 10:00 - 11:15 a.m. on the first Monday of every month via Zoom.
  • Open only to pre- or post-transplant patients and their families and caregivers.
  • To register, please contact our Lung Transplant Program at 858-657-5050.

For Referring Physicians

To refer a lung transplant patient:

Call: 858-657-5050
Fax: 858-657-7636

To transfer a lung transplant patient:

Call: 619-543-5709

More information:

Support Our Patient Assistance Fund

Donations are vital in helping lung transplant recipients and their families. Your financial gift is deeply appreciated! Give now