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Recovery

Recovery Phases

ICU

After surgery, the patient stays in the ICU for around a week and receives an intensive care. For the first few days, a respirator is used and removed later when breathing becomes stable. To avoid pulmonary complications like pneumonia and increase the lung capacity, the patient needs to do breathing exercise such as deep breathing, coughing, and walking. In order to prevent rejection reactions, the patient takes immunosupressants and a daily blood test to adjust their dose. As the drugs heighten the risk of infections, it is important to maintain a proper level and strictly control infections. Therefore, the patient uses an isolation room in the ICU and all of the medical staff attend him/her in masks and gowns. While the patient can be visited, the visit should be as short as possible to lower the risk of infections.

General Ward

When the patient shows a good recovery, he or she is moved to a general patient room where the patient can stay with his/her family. The patient can have ordinary meals and walk in the hallway with the help of nurses or the family. Constant walking is important to increase the lung capacity. As the first month is a vital period to closely follow whether the transplant becomes stable in the new body, everyday the patient takes a blood test and a chest X-ray.

Rejection Reaction and Infection

The human body has an immune system that recognizes foreign substances and protects the body from infections. However, this system causes a trouble when it sees the transplant as a foreign substance and starts attacking it. This kind of reactions is called ‘rejection reactions.’ To lessen the reactions, the patient uses ‘immunosuppressants’ which suppress the reactions and also make the body vulnerable to infections. Thus, it is crucial to strike a right balance between rejection reaction control and infection control. The patient is required to continue taking this type of medications even after discharge.