After a lung transplant, you will gradually start to feel stronger. The end goal is to allow you to live more freely without oxygen.
Making sure your body accepts the new lungs is vital to your success and recovery.
The first few months after lung transplant surgery are when you have the highest risk for infection or rejection. That's why you will need to remain within 1 hour of UPMC for at least 2 to 3 months after discharge or as directed by your transplant team.
You must also have a caregiver with you at all times during these first few months.
You and your caregiver can arrange for a room at Family House near the hospital until you're ready to return home. This is not a medical facility.
You'll also need to care for the incision site to prevent infection. Follow the directions your transplant nurse showed you before leaving the hospital.
At first, you will have frequent follow-up visits so the lung transplant team can make sure you're healing properly as well as to ensure your ongoing improvement.
After that, you will return to UPMC's post-transplant clinic at least every 2 months for a 2-day visit for the first year. This will vary based upon testing results at any visit.
Lung biopsy is the only way for your doctor to determine whether your body is accepting or rejecting the new lung or lungs. That's why it's so important that you come to all your follow-up appointments.
During these visits, you will have:
You'll continue to take the antirejection drugs you received at the hospital for the rest of your life. Your doctor will continuously monitor how you respond and make adjustments as needed to find the right treatment.
The antirejection drugs make you more susceptible to developing infections.
After lung transplant surgery, limit your exposure to people with illnesses or places where people are likely to be spreading germs.
Call us if you have any signs of infection, which include:
Your care team at UPMC is here to help you for the rest of your life.
Post-Lung Transplant Aftercare
An organ recipient needs a lot of help after transplant surgery.
Being a caregiver is a big responsibility. You may need more than one person to help you for the first few months after your lung transplant.
A lung transplant caregiver will:
Most people who receive a lung transplant at UPMC have good results. Visit the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients' website for more information on our outcomes.
To make the most of your new lung or lungs, it's important to follow your treatment plan and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Please be sure both you and your caregivers fully understand your personalized at-home care plan prior to discharge from the hospital.
Remember that the UPMC lung transplant team is here for you for the rest of your life. Do not hesitate to call the Cardiothoracic Transplant office at 412-648-6202 or toll free 844-548-4591.