The average hospital stay after your liver transplant is one to two weeks. Your hospital stay may be longer depending on complications that may arise from the transplant surgery and/or your condition prior to the transplant.
After the transplant surgery is complete you will be taken to the recovery room. When awake and stable you will be moved to the Intensive Care Unit for a short stay while your condition is monitored. Once stabilized and free of any complications, your hospital stay will continue in the Transplant Unit.
During your stay in the hospital, the transplant team will see you each day. The team includes the transplant hepatologist, surgeon, transplant coordinator, pharmacist, social worker, nutritionist and your primary nurse.
The transplant pharmacist will monitor the dosage and administration of your anti-rejection drugs. The pharmacist understands the many possible interactions between anti-rejection medicines and the other medicines you will be taking after your transplant.
The transplant social worker visits each transplant patient during his or her hospital stay. The social worker can assist with a wide variety of issues, including concerns about the need to be off work or helping you identify caregiving support after the transplant. The social worker is available to you when you are hospitalized and when you are an outpatient in the transplant clinic.
The nutritionist will discuss your dietary needs and requests.
Without specific types of medications, your body’s immune system would react to the transplanted organ as foreign and try to reject it. Anti-rejection drugs, or immunosuppressives, are medications that help prevent your body from rejecting the transplanted organ. The development of new, more effective medications has made transplants much more successful in recent years. However, immunosuppressives also decrease your body’s ability to fight some infections and some types of cancer. As a transplant patient, therefore, you need to actively participate in monitoring your health. The ongoing success of your transplant depends upon taking your medications exactly as prescribed by your transplant team.
You will have many changes when you receive a liver transplant transplant. These changes involve your medications, diet, fluids to drink, exercise, doctor appointments and lifestyle. Some will last a few months, and some will last as long as the new organ. It is very important for you to follow these new directions carefully so that you will stay healthy and your transplant will last a long time.
A notebook with information about how to take care of yourself and your new transplant is provided to help guide you, and those who will help you. In addition, the nurses in the hospital and the nurse transplant coordinators will begin teaching you on the day of your surgery. They will continue with your education until you are confident that you know how to take care of yourself and your new organ. Educational support will continue even as you return to daily life with your new transplant.