After Your Lung Transplant, Hospital Visits are Necessary
The lung transplant process doesn’t end with hospital discharge. As a Tampa General Hospital lung transplant patient, you’ll be required to remain within an hour of the hospital for eight weeks after surgery to make it easier to attend necessary follow-up appointments. If you were very sick before your transplant, you may be discharged to a local rehabilitation facility for a short time to help you regain physical strength. During the first two months following surgery, you will visit the TGH Cardiac & Lung Transplant Clinic on the third floor of the Harbourside Medical Tower for frequent exams, biopsies, and labs. These examinations can help your medical team determine how your body is faring after surgery and whether the graft has been successful.
From there, TGH will develop an extended meeting schedule based on your individual needs. To give you an idea of how frequently you will visit the hospital following your lung transplant, here is a sample agenda:
- In the first two months, you’ll come to the clinic for weekly visits.
- In the third month, you’ll visit us every other week.
- In months four through 12, you’ll make monthly visits.
- After the first year, you’ll make an annual visit to the clinic, and then return every three months for labs and/or examinations.
In addition, you’ll need to undergo periodic bronchoscopies so your physician can assess the state of your new lung. Generally, you’ll have a bronchoscopy at the hospital one month after your lung transplant, and then every two months thereafter for your first year after your lung transplant operation. After that, you won’t need another bronchoscopy unless you have symptoms of rejection or infection.
Throughout this process, keep in mind that your family and friends will play an important part. You’ll need someone to drive you to your appointments at TGH, as well as have a committed care partner in the meetings with you to help take notes and remember instructions from the staff. This partner will also learn about the complex medical care that you’ll need when you return home, so he or she can be prepared to help you recover from your lung transplant operation. Be sure to bring this person, along with your list of medications and your vital statistic recordings, to every clinic visit.
For further details about the follow-up visit schedule for patients who undergo a lung transplant at Tampa General Hospital, contact the transplant coordinator toll free at 1-800-505-7769 (press 3 for the lung transplant program and ask for the referral coordinator), or call the coordinator directly at (813) 844-4088.