, ,

Doctors at UCLA have completed the first successful “breathing lung” transplant.

In November, transplant patient Fernando Padilla, 57, got an early-morning call that a pair of donor lungs were available, UCLA reports.

But they weren’t going to be delivered in the traditional icebox method. Instead, the doctors used an experimental device that kept the lungs breathing as they were transported from another state.

“They are as close as possible as they could be left in a live state,” Dr. Abbas Ardehali, director of the UCLA Transplant Program, told KTLA.

The lungs rose and fell in a box, as they were supplied with oxygen and a special solution supplemented with red-blood cells, NBC reports. Doctors described seeing the “breathing lungs” outside a body as “surreal.”

Hey science, nice work.