Post Transplant Care – Introduction, Importance, Complication, and More
Post Transplant Care – When a patient undergoes a transplant, their general condition, and quality of life improve. Still, several aspects are taken care of for the transplant to last as long as possible and produce the fewest possible complications.
Post Transplant Care Recommendations after Hospital Discharge
After surgery, the patient is admitted to the Intensive Care Unit for 2-3 days and then to the hospitalization ward for a few more days. Again, care is essential to avoid contagion and infection. It recommends visiting protected with masks and gowns, good hand hygiene and washing with disinfectant gels, and avoiding flowers, plants, or animals.
After discharge, the patient must follow some essential medical guidelines and recommendations for their correct evolution. For any questions, they can contact the doctor in charge of transplants. Initially, analytical and medical control is frequent and fundamental for monitoring the functionality of the new organ.
The specialist doctor, the transplant team, and nursing professionals work with the patient and family on health education and self-care processes to provide the patient with comprehensive care based on the person and not on the disease.
Importance of Medication Post Transplant Care
Post Transplant Care – It is essential to adhere to the medication, fundamentally the immunosuppressant, and to follow the guidelines established by the doctor. The patient should not self-medicate due to the possible adverse effects that he could cause. It is convenient during the first months to keep a personal control in a notebook in terms of temperature, fasting weight, blood pressure, heart rate, and amount of urine. In case of any pain or fever, you can take paracetamol. You should avoid nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, except in exceptional cases of medical prescription.
When can the Transplant Recipient Return to Everyday Life?
In general, the transplant recipient can lead a progressively everyday life. At first, you should take certain precautions, such as not lifting weights, not being in closed places with many people, and avoiding contact with people suffering from infectious processes. You should not drive for six months or be in touch with animals for 2 -3 first months; After that time, I could be as long as they are vaccinated, dewormed, and washing their hands after touching them. You should protect your skin with sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to walk outdoors.
Food is an important chapter. Many high-intensity restrictions disappear, and the tendency is to gain weight. The patient must maintain a healthy, balanced diet, low in salt, and avoid foods rich in sugars and fats.
At first, it is convenient to walk on flat land for 60 minutes for physical exercise. Then, you can practice some sport, avoiding physical contact, violent movements, or risky sports little by little. After 12 months, the routine can be more normal, always progressive, based on a correct diet, good hydration, and adequate rest to help physical and functional recovery.
Returning to work can be done after three months, but it depends on each patient’s situation.
Regarding sexuality, sexual relations need from 6/8 weeks after the transplant or when each patient is ready. Regarding pregnancies, it should delay for at least one year, both in the case of women and men, and always consult the doctor to assess the medication taken by the patient.
What Possible Complications can Occur after a Transplant?
The main complications are rejection -hyperacute, acute, and chronic- and infections.
Hyperacute rejection. It supposes the immediate loss of the transplanted graft. It is pretty uncommon at present and in any transplant.
Acute Rejection- Post Transplant Care
It regularly happens within the first few days or months of the transplant when it does occur. Thanks to immunosuppressants, it tends to be milder and has a better prognosis. Symptoms and clinical manifestations depend on the type of transplant. With proper medication, acute rejection usually reverses in most cases.
Chronic Rejection – Post Transplant Care
It occurs in some patients several months or years after the transplant. When it happens, it usually has a slow and constant evolution. The treatment for these cases is transplantation.
In all types of rejection, the analysis determines the situation of the transplanted graft, its condition, and the measures to be taken to stop or slow down evolution.
In the case of infections, we have already mentioned that contracting them increases in patients who undergo a transplant because their immune systems weaken. This disease risk varies depending on the post-transplant stage in which the patient is. It is generally higher during the first six months after the transplant. It then progressively decreases until it becomes similar to that of the rest of the population after the first year of transplant. Therefore, we can say that infections:
- They are frequent complications after transplantation.
- It is essential to make an initial diagnosis and a good analysis.
- By applying a suitable treatment, they solve without leaving sequels.
Ten Essential Tips after a Transplant – Post Transplant Care
1. Medical Follow-up Comes First – Post Transplant Care
It will be the analysis and reviews with the medical professionals that assess the transplanted organ’s situation and rhythm. It is very optimistic that the patient and the family have a close and trusting relationship with the doctor to share doubts.
2. Respect Medical Guidelines and Adherence to Medication – Post Transplant Care
You must follow the medication on the days, hours, and doses marked by specialist doctors. For all transplant recipients, taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen) is prohibited due to the cellular effects that they can cause in the transplanted organ.
3. Bet on Self-Care
We must promote the responsibility of the patient in their treatment. It would help if you did not delegate to the doctor, their environment, or the drugs. Still, aspects such as taking medication, incorporating healthy habits, the appearance of abnormal situations and their response or decision in any situation that affects their health are your inescapable responsibility. You can always count on professional advice to learn to live with the disease.
4. Monitor your Blood Pressure Level
A crucial risk factor after a transplant is high blood pressure, as it can damage the arteries and the heart, increasing the risk of heart problems. To not reach high blood pressure levels, avoid a diet with a high salt content, high concentrations of lipids in the blood, smoking, obesity, and certain medications.
5. Practice Physical Exercise
Sports favor transplant patients physically because they can prevent muscle, bone, or lipid problems due to immunosuppression. On an emotional level, it also makes them feel better. However, there are some differences between transplant recipients according to their organs. For example, those who have a new heart for the first time should exercise to promote pumping; kidney transplant recipients do not require high intensities in exercise, and those with liver have more muscle conditions and have a slower rehabilitation.
6. Control Food Intake
After the transplant, most recipients tend to put on weight because of removing dietary restrictions, medication, and lack of exercise. Therefore, follow a healthy, balanced, and low-salt diet and avoid foods rich in sugars and fats. The Mediterranean diet is the best model. Remember that grapefruit is a contraindicated fruit if you take immunosuppressants, as it interferes with their absorption. In fact, due to the medication in each transplant, there may be interference with the absorption of drugs and foods, which translates into increased cholesterol levels, for example. Follow-up by nutritionists recommends.
7. Hydrate Properly
Hydration is vital for the appropriate functioning of transplanted organs, even more so in kidney transplants. A liter and a half a day will allow you not to be dehydrated and avoid an imbalance in your body. Alcoholic beverages are generally prohibited, and heart and liver transplant patients must be more careful.
8. Take Care of your Skin
Because it is more sensitive to the sun, avoid sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. In addition, lip balm, hat, and sunglasses; do not expose yourself to artificial light sources, and remember that solar radiation has harmful effects on cloudy days or in mountainous areas, grass or snow.
9. Reinforce the Care of your Mouth and General Hygiene
Routine dental care is essential before and after a transplant, as infections in the mouth can lead to serious medical problems. For example, gingivitis is a condition that can occur in transplant patients but can reduce by practicing good oral hygiene. As general care, wash your hands frequently, especially before each meal and after going to the bathroom. Toiletries must be for the exclusive use of the patient; avoid contact with people who show signs of infection such as coughing, sneezing, chills, diarrhea, or fever, and especially with children who have any rash illness.
10. If you can Resume your Work Activity, do it
Transplantation is a limiting pathology, although the benefits that work activity produces in these patients have been demonstrated. Psychologically it normalizes the situation, but it is also true that not all people can return to work. If the transplanted person wants to rejoin, they have the right to do so -after the first three months-but, they are difficult people to hire from a business point of view. However, there are types of work in which transplant recipients must take special precautions, such as work with animals, physical work, or with waste or highly polluting substances that can affect the functioning of the organ.
A transplant is a procedure to replace one of your organs with another person’s healthy organ. Surgery is just one part of a complex and lengthy process.
Several experts will help you prepare for the procedure and make sure you are comfortable before, during, and after surgery.