Precautions after Lung Transplant Surgery by Dr Gokhale

What is Lungs Transplant Surgery?

Lungs Transplant Surgery generally involves transplanting/changing either one lung or both lungs depending upon the condition of infection in the patient. If lungs are infected with cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis etc, then both lungs need to be transplanted. If lungs are damaged and not infected then one lung is transplanted. Patients suffering from pulmonary hypertension can be advised for two lungs transplant as it betters their health.

Can old aged people undergo Lungs Transplant Surgery?

But old aged people have to face many complications if they undergo double lung transplant surgery as it is a very major surgery. So, normally aged people are advised to go for single lung transplant in possible conditions.

Let me explain you what precautions would be needed for a person to follow who undergoes Lung Transplantation Surgery:

  1. After lung transplant surgery, you will be under observation in ICU for about one to seven days. You will be on ventilator for helping you breath easily and will be given drugs for pain relief.
  2. You will be monitored by the team of transplant specialists to check if the new organs are getting acceptance in your body. The monitoring process will include different x-rays and biopsies of lungs.
  3. Transplant specialist will know from biopsy reports, if the lungs are getting accepted or rejected. In case of any rejection, further treatment will be needed.
  4. When you condition betters, you will be shifted to high dependency ward where you will have stay for another two weeks.
  5. You will be discharged approximately in two to three weeks from hospital and you can be even asked to stay nearby to the hospital for a few months.
  6. In the second month, you need to visit the doctor for once in a week for about four week’s tenure.
  7. You need to regularly test your blood in every six weeks and meet your transplant surgeon every three months.

Dos and Don’ts after Lung Transplant Surgery

  1. Avoid/Stop smoking, especially second hand smoking is too dangerous to lungs.
  2. Anytime you feel sick, consult or intimate your transplant surgeon about your illness.
  3. Stay nearby to the hospital for atleast three months to avoid risks in any sudden health issues.
  4. Perform deep breathing exercises and increase your physical activity.
  5. Lift your upper arm up to 10 lb limit only till six weeks. Later you will be advised to increase weight limit by transplant surgeon.
  6. Do not play heavy games that are hard on chest like bowling, hunting, golf and baseball for about three months after surgery.
  7. Avoid swimming and water sports after surgery, however you will be able to take shower in the recovery time.
  8. Avoid driving till one month after lung transplant surgery.
  9. Do not take any narcotic pain killers after surgery. Strictly avoid them.
  10. Avoid spending too much time in crowd especially where you find diseased people.
  11. Avoid eating grape fruits, consuming alcohol, attempting for pregnancy after lung transplant surgery.

As a Lung Transplant Surgeon, I Dr Gokhale advice patients who undergone and are about to undergo follow the medications, and precautions that are required for safe and speedy recovery of the patient.

I have so far done 3 single lung transplants. My first successful Lung Transplant in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana was on 8th of September, 2012, on a 34 year old lady from Pune, Maharashtra. She was bedridden depending on oxygen at rest. She was investigated and kept ready for transplant. On the night of 8th of September, 2012, a donor with blood group compatibility became available and she underwent right Lung Transplant successfully. So far in India nearly 300 Heart Transplants and about 40 Lung Transplants are done.

Author Bio

Dr. Alla Gopala Krishna Gokhale, Chief Cardiothoracic, Transplant and Minimal Access Cardiac Surgeon at Apollo Hospitals, Jubilee Hills did the first successful Lung Transplant Surgery and 1st successful Heart Transplantation Surgery to patients in the states of Telangana & Andhra Pradesh.