After discharge from the hospital, you will be seen regularly in the lung transplant clinic by a nurse practitioner or a transplant pulmonologist.
The frequency of your visits depends on when you received your new lungs and your overall medical condition. Expect twice-weekly visits during the first month after transplant. In addition to monitoring your physical condition, we will provide as much information as possible to you and your family to facilitate your return to an independent and fulfilling life.
Caring for new lungs is a lot of work. Once discharged from the hospital, each day you will monitor your temperature, blood pressure, weight, lung function (through daily microspirometry sessions) and possibly blood sugar.
You must carefully follow your daily medication schedule and participate in pulmonary rehabilitation sessions. We will schedule you for routine bronchoscopies so your pulmonologist can monitor the health of your new lungs. You also will complete quality of life surveys on an ongoing basis.
Take your temperature twice a day, before breakfast and before dinner. Record the results in your manual. Also, take your temperature any time you feel chilled, hot or achy, as this may be the first sign of infection or rejection. Contact the transplant team if your temperature ever exceeds 100 degrees F.
We ask that you purchase a blood pressure machine before you are discharged from the hospital. Your nurse will teach you and your family how to use the machine properly. Take your blood pressure in the morning before breakfast and record the results in your manual. Notify your transplant team if your blood pressure is:
- Systolic (top number) greater than 180 or less than 100
- Diastolic (bottom number) greater than 100 or less than 50
Your blood pressure machine also takes your pulse. Notify the transplant team if your pulse is greater than 140 or less than 60.
Weigh yourself every morning after you urinate and before you eat breakfast. Notify your transplant team of any weight gain greater than 3 pounds in a 24-hour period.
While you are still in the hospital, we give you an at-home microspirometer and personalized how-to instructions by a pulmonary rehabilitation therapist. (Read further instructions.)
Once home, measure your FEV1 and FVC every day at the same time and record th)e numbers in your manual. You will also receive an incentive spirometer and flutter valve. Use these 3 times a day during the initial post-transplant period.
Notify your transplant team if either your FEV1 or your FVC decreases by 10% for 2 days.
Blood sugar (diabetics only)
If you were diabetic before your transplant or have developed diabetes since your surgery, you will need to monitor your blood sugar. Take your blood sugar before breakfast and again before dinner. Record the results in your manual. Notify the transplant team or your endocrinologist if your blood sugar is less than 80 or greater than 350.
This valuable monitoring and diagnostic test is performed for a number of reasons. Read more.