Skip to main content

Lung Transplant

Frank riding beside the Orange County coastline

Back to Annual Report

Setting the Standard for Minimally Invasive Lung Transplants

From performing the first robotically assisted double-lung transplant to pioneering one of the nation’s most advanced organ-rejection regimens, the Smidt Heart Institute’s cardiothoracic surgeons routinely reinvent the boundaries of modern lung transplant science.

Frank riding beside the Orange County coastline

Frank riding beside the Orange County coastline


  • Leaders in developing minimally invasive lung transplantation, using 2- to 3-inch incisions proven to reduce pain, recovery times and postoperative complications
  • Pioneers of the first robotically assisted double-lung transplant and the only program systematically offering this technique to patients
  • Accept challenging cases refused by other centers, including patients with heart disease, previous chest surgery or prior transplantation
  • Leading expertise in using ECMO as a bridge to transplantation for severely ill patients
  • The only U.S. center providing in vitro intravenous gamma globulin testing to reduce organ-rejection risk
  • Individualized approach to lung transplantation, tailoring surgical technique to patients’ needs


  • Heart-lung, lung-kidney and other multiorgan transplants
  • The most advanced donor organ preservation methods, enabling use of donor organs from anywhere in the U.S.
  • The most sophisticated diagnostics, including ventilation perfusion scans and lung diffusion capacity testing for posttransplant surveillance
  • Advanced organ compatibility profiles via in-depth blood and tissue testing


lung transplants in 2023

minimally invasive in FY23

robotically assisted in FY23

"I’m 60 now, so I’m shooting for another 15 to 20 years. There’s nothing holding me back."

– Frank Coburn
Minimally invasive double-lung transplant patient
Huntington Beach, California

the case

Frank Coburn (57) suffered from breathlessness, persistent cough and misdiagnoses for decades before additional testing uncovered interstitial lung disease. His pulmonologist recommended Cedars-Sinai both for initial management and eventual transplant, if needed.

the care

By the time Frank arrived at Cedars-Sinai, the treatment options for his extensive pulmonary fibrosis were limited. The experts at Cedars-Sinai recommended a double-lung transplant. Frank qualified for the transplant and received a call within five days of being added to the transplant list. In March 2021, he became the first person in the U.S. to receive a minimally invasive double-lung transplant.

the conclusion

Frank was alert and walking within hours of the transplant. Within 10 days, he was home, and within six months he had returned to riding his motorcycle. Frank and his wife have built a lasting relationship with his donor’s family—and he has maintained an active lifestyle and optimal health since the transplant.