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Lung Transplantation

medical worker showing image of lungs

Appointments & 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.

A lung transplantation process is challenging, 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. Our internationally renowned Lung Transplantation Program can help you. We have performed almost 650 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.

Our Lung Transplant Care Experts

Who Is a Candidate for Lung Transplant?

In the News

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.

Why Choose Us?

USNWR Award winner badge for pulmonology and lung surgery

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:

  • 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.

What to Expect in a Lung Transplant Process

"Our program has grown tremendously, with 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

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 and physical, respiratory 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 on getting 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.

Support and 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.

Lung Transplant Support Group (Virtual)

Join our free support group for pre- and post-transplant patients.

  • When: 10 – 11:15 a.m. on the first Monday of every month, over Zoom.
  • Contact: To be added to the event email list, please email social worker Emily Reiss
  • More information: 858-761-1747


"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, director, lung transplantation program