Lung donation

Donating your lungs after your death can mean that one or both of your lungs is transplanted to save someone’s life.

For those people waiting on the transplant list with advanced lung disease or low life expectancy every lung donation is a chance for life. Why not register as an organ donor today? The register is a permanent record of your wish to be a donor after your death and can be updated at any time.

Can I be a lung donor?

We encourage everyone to be a donor for the following reasons:

Because we do not have enough lung donations for the people who need them, only the transplants with the best chance of success can take place. This means there are patients who wait many years in considerable pain and difficulty. 

Lung donation is usually something that happens after death, but in very rare circumstances it is possible to become a living lung donor. The procedure is still rare in the UK and not available on the NHS.

Find out more about living kidney and living liver donation.

Why do people need a lung donation?

Your lungs are a delicate part of the vital flow of oxygen round the body. When this process becomes damaged or the lungs are diseased, people can quite quickly become very seriously ill.

A lung transplant may become the only option for people suffering from:

  • cystic fibrosis – a genetic condition that clogs the lungs with mucus, making it hard to breathe and digest food
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) – the name for a number of diseases that damage the lungs
  • raised blood pressure within the arteries serving the lungs (pulmonary hypertension)
  • scarring of the lungs (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis).

How to become a lung donor

Tell your friends and family that you wish to be a lung donor – it is very important that they understand and support your organ donation because your family’s support is needed for donation to go ahead. Dealing with the death of a loved one is a difficult time to make an important decision quickly.

Sign up to the Organ Donor Register online. This record helps to quickly match potential donors and recipients.

Call us on 0300 123 23 23.

Further information