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Lung Transplant

About Us

The UPMC Lung Transplant Program is one of the most recognized and experienced centers in the world for lung and combined heart-lung transplantation. The UPMC Lung Transplant Program works closely with the UPMC Comprehensive Lung Center to provide exceptional care for patients along the entire spectrum of life-threatening lung diseases.

Since the program's inception in 1982, UPMC surgeons have performed 1,229 double lung transplants, 630 single lung transplants, and 136 combined heart-lung transplants, far exceeding other transplant centers.

UPMC's Lung Transplant Program is one of a few in the nation that has achieved this significant volume, while maintaining outcomes that have met national averages. This is especially important when you consider that UPMC’s significant experience allows its specialists to accept many high-risk patients who otherwise would be declined as lung transplant candidates.

Program Highlights

  • Program inception: 1982
  • 2,000 adult lung and combined heart-lung transplants performed
  • Evaluation of patients with scleroderma
  • Retransplantation for those meeting specific requirements
  • Evaluation of international patients

Our physicians are pioneers in the use of extra-corporealmembrane oxygenation (ECMO), making us one of the most active ECMO centers in the country. ECMO is used to replace the heart and lung function by circulating the patient’s blood through an artificial lung, supporting the patient’s clinical condition to allow more time to find a suitable donor.

Who is A Candidate

Our program provides specialized care for people with life-threatening lung diseases.  Diseases treatable by transplantation therapy include:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Alpha 1 Anti-Trypsin Deficiency
  • Primary pulmonary hypertension (unknown cause)
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Emphysema
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Scleroderma

Volumes and Outcomes

As a pioneer in the field of solid-organ transplantation, our program has been consistently challenged with some of the most difficult and complex cases. Still, we maintain outcomes that are on par with national benchmarks.  To view specific information about our outcomes, including one- and three-year survival rates, please visit the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients.

Research in Lung Transplantation

UPMC lung transplant researchers have been at the forefront in efforts to develop novel immunosuppressive regimens, including induction lymphodepletion and the use of inhaled cyclosporine to minimize rejection and improve long-term outcomes in lung patients. These regimens may also help to reduce drug side effects.

UPMC is also actively involved in research pertaining to organ perfusion. Perfusing the organ outside of the body (ex vivo organ perfusion) can improve donor lung quality and result in transplantation of lungs that were previously deemed unsuitable for transplantation. Through ex vivo lung perfusion, we hope to expand the utilization of donor lungs and extend this life-saving therapy to more patients with end-stage lung disease waiting for transplantation.