After a Lung Transplant

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Recovering in the Hospital

A new life with a transplanted organ begins in the hospital, right after the transplant operation. The average hospital stay for a lung transplant lasts 10-14 days.

During the hospital stay, we carefully monitor you and test your new organ. A physical therapist will start working with you. We will also train you on self-care at home and the drugs needed to protect the transplanted organ from rejection (called immunosuppressants). 

Most patients leave the hospital without wearing oxygen.

After Leaving the Hospital

Receiving a lung transplant alters your life, potentially for the better. But receiving a transplant also means a lifetime of medication, frequent follow-up visits and ongoing monitoring by our doctors and nurses. After leaving the hospital, you will need to:

  • Check your own vital signs daily (temperature, weight, blood pressure and pulse)
  • Take any medications your doctor prescribes
  • Report any changes in your vital signs or health ASAP
  • Complete regular, routine lab tests (at a lab convenient to home)

Staying Close

The greatest risk of complications occurs immediately after the surgery. For that reason, you'll need quick access to specialized transplant care to ensure the success of your transplant.

If you live more than 1.5 hours away from Charlottesville, you and your caregiver will need to temporarily relocate here for 2-3 months after surgery. 

Learn more about organ rejection.

Follow-Up Care

Routine follow-up appointments after a transplant focus on maintaining your good health and organ function. Early appointments will include pulmonary function testing. 

For the first year, your transplant coordinator will call you regularly to monitor your progress and assess your overall health.

The success of your lung transplant will depend on a faithful compliance with your medication and clinic visit schedules. You should also stay physically active and maintain a healthy diet.

Getting Support

Our team works to support you throughout the lung transplant process.

Find out about how you'll get supported by our transplant coordinators.