The transplant patient begins a new life after surgery. While an organ transplant does much to improve quality of life, patients must stay healthy for the rest of their lives.
Medical Care After Transplant Surgery
You will need follow-up medical care for the rest of your life or the life of the transplanted organ. At The University of Vermont Medical Center, we typically see patients one to two mornings a week for the first several weeks, then once every one to two weeks and, finally once each month. Here's what to expect:
For the first month after you leave the hospital, you will visit the The UVM Medical Center Outpatient Clinic one to three mornings each week for blood tests and any necessary adjustments to immunosuppressant medications.
After the first month, follow-up visits are adjusted to meet individual patient needs. The type and frequency of your care will vary, especially if you experience any problems with organ rejection.
Eventually, you may only need checkups every few months, but blood work is usually done more often.
We recommend that you plan for a visit to last from 45 minutes to several hours. We may need to wait for the results of your blood tests before we send you home, or we may need to schedule other tests. This is a good time to speak with your social worker as needs arise or simply as a check-in. During this initial post-hospital time, patient medications are adjusted to reach a point of maximal stability. Once this initial period is over, patient visit schedules are adjusted to meet their needs.
Ongoing Transplant Care
The UVM Medical Center transplantation staff works to assist transplant recipients as they resume their lives and activities. While transplantation does much to improve the patient's life, the transplant recipient finds they have an ongoing responsibility to sustain these benefits for the rest of their lives.
After your transplant surgery, you will need to check a few of your vital signs regularly to help monitor your health. Twice a day, you must log your:
Bring this information with you each time you visit the Outpatient Clinic.
The transplant team at The UVM Medical Center will be available at all times to assist transplant patients who experience difficulty or risks to the well being of their transplanted organs. The transplant coordinators and nurse practitioners are in constant contact with your surgeon and nephrologist and will be handling much of your care after the transplant. Remember that any questions or concerns you have continue to be important. You should feel free to contact any member of the transplant team.