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How can I care for myself at home after a lung transplant?

Some basic guidelines include:
  • People should take their temperature every morning before breakfast and every evening before dinner. Temperatures 100 degrees or above require a call to the medical team.
  • People should weigh themselves every morning before getting dressed or eating breakfast. Weight gain or loss of five pounds over two or three days should be reported to the medical team.
  • A microspirometer, a small pulmonary function testing monitor, should be used every morning at the same time. A decrease in numbers should be reported to the transplant office right away.
  • Writing down microspirometry numbers, medications and (if advised) blood sugar, body weight or blood pressure is very important. By keeping track of this information, people help the doctors and nurses to understand how their body is recovering from surgery.
  • People are encouraged to participate in the MedicAlert program. Should they ever require emergency care and be unable to provide their medical history, the MedicAlert operators can provide it on their behalf.
  • Exercise programs are specially designed by the rehabilitation team for people based on their abilities and needs. People are expected to go to pulmonary rehabilitation three times a week and should exercise at home as they feel comfortable without getting overtired. For the first six weeks, the surgical incision is still healing, so people should not lift anything heavier than five pounds.
  • It is very important to eat a well-balanced diet and follow the guidelines provided by the lung transplant dietician. Because people are taking a lot of medications, they should avoid alcohol.
  • Even though transplant is a lifesaving procedure, it is very stressful for all involved. People are encouraged to talk with the lung transplant social worker or transplant nurse or doctor and participate in support group meetings.
  • Sexual activity may be resumed as soon as people feel ready. Safe sex practices are recommended.
  • People who have had transplants are immunosuppressed and very susceptible to infections. Avoiding people with contagious infections such as measles, mumps, chicken pox, colds or flu is recommended. People exposed to anyone with a contagious disease should call the transplant office right away.
  • Good oral health is important, and people should see the dentist every six months. Prophylactic antibiotics may be prescribed for any dental procedures, so call the transplant office before dental appointments.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.