Life After a Heart Transplant: What You Need to Know


senior african american couple in hospital roomPreparing for a heart transplant can feel like an intimidating process that focuses primarily on the surgical aspect. But what can you expect after leaving the operating room?

Your road to recovery and health is one that many people have already traveled. Your cardiologist will be able to tell you what you can expect and what you need to do to promote a healthy recovery. However, there are some common-sense approaches to your recovery that are important for every heart transplant recipient.

Monitoring Is an Important Part of Recovery

A heart transplant is a major medical procedure. Your doctor will plan frequent follow-up visits to monitor your recovery process. During these visits your cardiology team will perform blood tests, heart biopsies through catheterization, and echocardiograms on a monthly basis for the first year after your heart transplant.

Medication Is a Crucial Part of Recovery

When a foreign object is introduced into a body, it immediately begins fighting back. In the case of an organ transplant, this rejection can lead to serious complications. Your cardiologist will prescribe a regimen of anti-rejection (immunosuppressant) medication to ensure your new heart is not rejected by your body.

If you experience severe side effects from your anti-rejection medication, talk with your doctor about your options.

Make the Choice to Live Healthy

When you receive a new heart, the quality of your life can improve a great deal. However, if you don’t take care of your new heart, then you will find that quality slip rapidly.

 Smoking is out of the question. It’s both unhealthy and can cause complications with your transplant. Staying as active as possible will work your new heart, making it stronger. In addition to taking your anti-rejection medication every day, follow a heart-healthy diet rich in vegetables and fruits.