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How do I monitor my vital signs after my lung transplant?

After you leave the hospital you will be asked to monitor your temperature, blood pressure, weight, and pulmonary function, and to keep a record of these measurements and laboratory test results.
  • Temperature. It is important to take your temperature every day in the morning. An increase in your normal temperature can be a symptom of either organ rejection or infection. Both rejection and infection are easier to treat when recognized early. Someone whose immune system is suppressed does not always get high fevers. Call your transplant team any time your temperature reaches 101° F (39.5° C).
  • Blood pressure. High blood pressure is a common side effect of both Neoral and Prograf. It can also indicate that you are retaining fluids. Once you return home you will need to take your blood pressure in the morning, afternoon, evening, and at bedtime, and keep a record of the results.
You may be discharged on medications that control blood pressure. You can help keep your blood pressure under control by eating a low-salt diet and by losing extra weight.

Your nurse will teach you how to measure your blood pressure. The top number (systolic) is noted at the first sound you hear and the bottom number (diastolic) is noted when the sound changes (not stops). It is important that you know your normal blood pressure, normal fluctuation range, and when you should be concerned. You should notify your transplant team or local physician if your blood pressure measures:
  • Systolic: more than 160 or less than 100.
  • Diastolic: more than 90 or less than 60.
Headache can be a symptom of high blood pressure. If you develop a headache, take your blood pressure. If it is above normal for you, call the transplant team. Also check your blood pressure if you feel dizzy or light-headed. These symptoms can be caused by low blood pressure. If your pressure is atypically low, call the transplant team.
  • Incentive spirometry. This Is a measurement of your airflow. You will be instructed on the daily use of this device before you leave the hospital.
  • Peak flow measurement: This measures the force that you can blow air out of your lungs. You will be instructed on the daily use of a peak flow meter in the hospital. 
  • Weight: You should weigh yourself on a standard bathroom scale at the same time each morning after going to the toilet. Record your weight. If you gain more than 2 pounds per day, you could be retaining fluid. Report this to your transplant team or local physician.

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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.