You’ll recover in the cardiovascular intensive care unit. You’ll have monitoring lines to check your heart rhythm, a ventilator to help you breathe, chest tubes to drain fluid from the chest and a urinary catheter. Gradually these lines and tubes will be removed and diet and activity will be increased. You’ll begin taking immunosuppression or antirejection medications, and will learn how to take these medications at home and how to care for yourself.
A team – including nurses; physical, occupational and cardiac rehabilitation therapists; dieticians and pharmacists; and your cardiologist and cardiac surgeon and their staffs – will work with you to provide care and education and to plan your discharge.
After your discharge, you’ll have weekly cardiac biopsies to monitor how well your body is accepting the new heart. Weekly follow-ups in the transplant clinic will also include laboratory testing. Your transplant nurse coordinator will keep you updated on testing, biopsy, and appointment plans, and also check in to see how you are doing and answer any questions.