Meet Dr. Won Lee

Sleep disorders have a variety of causes, including breathing problems and neuromuscular disorders. Regardless of the source, UT Southwestern pulmonologist Won Lee, M.D., seeks solutions that improve his patients’ quality of life – through immediate relief and long-term benefits.

Improving sleep quality and making patients feel better is very satisfying.”

“My goal is to optimize breathing function during sleep so that my patients feel more refreshed and alert throughout the day,” he says.

Dr. Lee – a Texas Monthly Rising Star and D Magazine Best Doctor ­­– can provide relief for breathing disorders like obstructive sleep apnea through therapies such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Patients sleep – and feel – better immediately as a result. The treatment also reduces long-term cardiovascular risk, improving life expectancy.

For patients with progressive neuromuscular pulmonary disorders such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or muscular dystrophy, Dr. Lee uses noninvasive approaches such as bilevel positive airway pressure (BPAP) when possible to help them breathe more easily. By using BPAP instead of more invasive therapies like a tracheostomy, Dr. Lee is able to offer long-term quality of life improvement and prolong survival.

As Medical Director of UT Southwestern’s Clinical Center for Sleep and Breathing Disorders, Dr. Lee oversees a multidisciplinary team of experts who are board certified in sleep medicine. The Center is one of few academic programs in the country that treats both neuromuscular pulmonary disorders and primary sleep disorders.

When needed, Dr. Lee partners with UT Southwestern’s ear, nose, and throat surgeons or oral maxillofacial experts for upper respiratory surgery and oral dental appliances.

Dr. Lee is active in clinical research to improve sleep disorder treatments, collaborating with investigators who place diaphragm pacemakers in patients with neuromuscular pulmonary disease. He also works in collaboration with UTSW's pulmonary physiology group to investigate the connection between impaired pulmonary physiology and increased shortness of breath in patients with obstructive sleep apnea. He has additional research interests in improving adherence to CPAP therapy, particularly in adult patients with Down syndrome.

Dr. Lee is also proud to help train the next generation of sleep disorder and pulmonary specialists through UT Southwestern’s internal medicine residency and pulmonary fellowship. He is heavily involved in simulation training and was named outstanding internal medicine teaching faculty of the year in 2011.

Clinical Interests

Sleep and Breathing Disorders

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
  • Pulmonary neuromuscular diseases
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Obesity hypoventilation syndrome (OHS)
  • Diaphragm disorders
  • Post-polio syndrome
  • Noninvasive positive pressure ventilation (NIPPV)
  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)