After a Heart Transplant

Now that you are on the road to recovery after a heart transplant, it’s important to keep your new heart in top shape. Your Banner Health team will work closely with you and your loved ones so you can live your best life following heart transplant surgery.

Heart Transplant Recovery

When your transplant is complete, your doctor and heart transplant team will continue to monitor you in the hospital for two to four weeks. Following surgery, your vitals and immunosuppression (anti-rejection) medications will be closely regulated. Your heart transplant team will also work with you to ensure you understand your new medications, including timing, side effects and more.

Once you are discharged from the hospital, you will continue to see your doctor for heart biopsies in the six months following the transplant. Routine biopsies will be performed every week for the first four weeks. After the first month, routine biopsies may occur every three months depending on your recovery. These biopsies will ensure the heart is not being rejected. It’s important that you eat a balanced diet, avoid contact with those who are sick and continue a healthy lifestyle.

The support and care of family or loved ones is also important in the months following your transplant surgery. This support system can help you run errands, take your medications on time, track symptoms and drive you to appointments.

Physical Therapy and Cardiac Rehabilitation

As you improve, your activity level will gradually increase, and you’ll begin physical therapy and breathing exercises.

Cardiac rehabilitation will also play a role in the recovery process as you get back to daily activities. This program is designed to help improve your cardiovascular health and educate you on ways to maintain a healthy heart and lifestyle. The team of cardiac rehabilitation specialists at Banner Health will help plan your physical therapy, breathing exercises and nutrition support. Learn more about cardiac rehabilitation.

Once home, ongoing rehabilitation will last for several months. It is also important to take your anti-rejection medications, as these will be required for the rest of your life to maintain your health. Many patients are able to get back to normal hobbies, work and exercising. Your heart transplant team will support you at every stage of these lifestyle changes.

Heart Transplant Life Expectancy

Planning life after a heart transplant is exciting. Life expectancy after a heart transplant is dependent on your age, overall health and how your body is responding to the transplant.

In order to maintain the longevity of your transplant, you’ll have regular follow-ups with your doctor, which includes yearly heart catheterization to show information on how well your heart is performing, take your medication as prescribed and alert your doctor if you have any new symptoms.

Banner Health is here to help you succeed in life after a heart transplant and support you as you begin your daily activities again.