Solid organ transplant - lung
You should expect to stay in the hospital for 7 - 21 days after a lung transplant. You will likely spend time in the intensive care unit (ICU) right after surgery. Most centers that perform lung transplants have standard ways of treating and managing lung transplant patients.
During your hospital stay, you will:
The recovery period is about 6 months. Often, your transplant team will ask you to stay close to the hospital for the first 3 months. You will need to have regular check-ups with blood tests and x-rays for many years.
A lung transplant is a major procedure that is performed for patients with life-threatening lung disease or damage.
Around four out of five people are still alive 1 year after the transplant. Around two out of five transplant recipients are alive at 5 years. Outcomes are similar for single and double lung transplants. The highest risk of death is during the first year, mainly from problems such as rejection.
Fighting rejection is an ongoing process. The body's immune system considers the transplanted organ as an invader (much like an infection) and may attack it.
To prevent rejection, organ transplant patients must take anti-rejection (immunosuppression) drugs (such as cyclosporine and corticosteroids). These drugs suppress the body's immune response and reduce the chance of rejection. As a result, however, these drugs also reduce the body's natural ability to fight off infections.
By 5 years after a lung transplant, at least one in five people develop cancers or have problems with the heart. These two conditions cause most deaths at 5 years.
For most people, the quality of life is improved after a lung transplant. They have better exercise endurance and are able to do more on a daily basis.
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