When the patient arrives at the hospital for transplantation surgery, he or she will go through a thorough physical exam that includes blood work, a chest x-ray and EKG. If an infection or other type of medical problem is present, surgery may have to be cancelled. The patient is not removed from the transplant list until they have undergone a successful organ transplantation.
Surgery time can vary based on the organ being transplanted.
It is possible that the patient will need a blood transfusion during surgery. All blood is carefully screened according to government standards. Family and friends are encouraged to donate blood.
All patients go to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where they are closely monitored. The patient stays in the ICU until the surgeon approves a transfer to a room on the floor dedicated to Multi-Organ Transplant Center patients.
From evaluation through hospitalization, transplantation and discharge, the patient’s transplant nurse coordinator is available to assist in any needs or concerns that may arise. The coordinator facilitates communication regarding the patient’s needs during their stay in the hospital, and will help to prepare the patient for life after transplantation.
In addition, there is a monthly multi-organ transplant support group, focusing on transplant education.
Before being discharged, the transplant nurse coordinator will meet with the patient and his or her family to provide instructions on how to take care of themselves and their new organ once they leave the hospital.
A transplant specific pharmacist is also available to meet with the patient to discuss immunosuppressive medications. These medications are a daily necessity as they effectively suppress the body’s immune system. This helps to ensure that the body does not attack and reject the new organ. The commitment to take immunosuppressant medications daily is essential when a patient chooses to become a candidate for organ transplantation.