Regardless of how well-matched a donor and recipient are, the recipient’s body will still try to reject the new organ since it is made completely of foreign cells. Fortunately, there are ways for patients and doctors to work together to prevent rejection or infection. While treatments and health care will vary depending on the organ transplanted and the patient, most recovery programs will involve similar care.
Health care After Organ Transplant Surgery
After an organ transplant, patients will continue to work with their health care team, who will monitor their recovery. They will also work together to develop medication dosages and lifestyle plans that will keep patients healthy for the rest of their lives.
To prevent rejection, immunosuppressant drugs will be given to decrease the body’s normal immune response. These drugs will need to be taken for the rest of the patient’s life. Drugs may include tacrolimus, mycophenolic acid, sirolimus, prednisone, cyclosporine, mycophenolate mofetil, and azathioprine.
Since these drugs reduce the immune system’s ability to fight other types of infections, a combination of antiviral, antifungal, and antibiotic medications may also be prescribed.
Medications may have a number of side effects, such as headache, nausea, and weight gain. They may also cause problems such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
There is also an increased risk of cancer as a result of suppressing the immune system. However, the risk of cancer may vary depending on different factors such as which medications are chosen, age, or whether there is a family history of cancer.
After an organ transplant, patients will also continue to undergo many tests to ensure that there is no infection and that the organ is not being rejected. Tests vary depending on the specific organ, but can include blood tests, imaging tests like X-rays, or biopsies.
Diet and Exercise
While each patient’s circumstances and recovery time will be different, discussing a diet and exercise program with health care team may be a wise decision. Patients should learn about creating a balanced diet for themselves, which may also help with other side effects of transplant surgery and medications, such as high cholesterol.
Exercise, which may be very minimal to start, is also recommended to help the body return to a healthy state and may also help with weight gain caused by taking immunosuppressant drugs.