Immediately after the surgery, you’ll spend several days in the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU). A mechanical ventilator will help you breathe for a few days, and tubes in your chest will drain fluids from around your lungs and heart.
A tube in a vein will deliver strong medications to control pain and to prevent rejection of your new lung. As your condition improves, you’ll no longer need the mechanical ventilator, and you’ll be moved out of the ICU. Recovery often involves a one- to three-week hospital stay. The amount of time you’ll spend in the ICU and in the hospital can vary.
After you leave the hospital, you’ll require about three months of frequent monitoring by the lung transplant team to prevent, detect and treat complications and to assess your lung function. During this time, you’ll generally need to stay close to the transplant center. Afterward, the follow-up visits are usually less frequent, and it’s easier to travel back and forth for follow-up visits.
Your follow-up visits may involve laboratory tests, chest X-rays, an electrocardiogram (ECG), lung function tests, a lung biopsy and checkups with a specialist.