Organ Transplant (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
At the Hospital
How can I prepare for my transplant?
While you are waiting for your organ transplant, you will be given a pager or cell phone so the transplant center can contact you at any time to tell you an organ is available. Always keep your pager with you. You may also wish to give the transplant center several numbers where you can be reached and the name and number of a few people who will always know how to reach you.
Arrange for someone to go with you to the transplant center when you have the organ transplant. This person can support you, listen to your doctor, and can help you remember important instructions from your doctor. This person can also report any change in behaviors or symptoms that you may have either before or shortly after the transplant. It is helpful to have someone who can be there to check in on you during your stay in the hospital and during your recovery at home.
Have your suitcase packed with the things you need to take with you to the transplant center. Your support person should also have a bag packed and ready to go at a moment's notice. You never know when you will receive the call that your organ is available.
What will happen at the hospital?
If you are called to the hospital or transplant center because a donor organ has been found, you will immediately be prepared for surgery while final tests are done to make sure the donor organ is a good match. If it is, you will have transplant surgery right away. If the organ is not a good match, the organ will be given to a person who is a better match, and you will be released to go home and continue to wait for your new organ.
If your current health condition requires that you be hospitalized while you wait for a donor organ, you will receive supportive and lifesaving care (such as blood pressure support for heart failure) until you are matched with a donor organ. During that time, you may be given high doses of a corticosteroid medicine, usually methylprednisolone, to prepare you for the surgery and prevent rejection. High doses of corticosteroids may cause side effects such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, weight gain, sleep problems, and anxiety. Corticosteroids can also cause more severe side effects such as extreme agitation, paranoia, and psychosis (trouble telling the difference between what is real and what is not real)—some people may feel "out of it" or have hallucinations while taking high doses of steroids. But these side effects are temporary and will go away after you stop taking the corticosteroid medicine.
How long will I be hospitalized after the transplant?
Your recovery time after an organ transplant depends on how healthy you are prior to surgery, which organ was transplanted, and whether your body accepts the donated organ. A longer hospital stay may be needed for a heart or lung transplant than for a kidney transplant. Some people are out of the hospital within a few days after their transplant. Others may need to stay for a few weeks.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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