The post liver transplant phase can be a very trying time for the affected individual and his close kin and friends. If you are scheduled to undergo a liver transplant procedure or know someone who will be getting one, read on to know more about the steps taken in the post liver transplant phase that follows the surgical procedure.
What Happens Post Liver Transplant
When the liver transplant surgery is deemed a success, you will be shifted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). In the ICU, you will be kept under observation for the first few days to keep an eye out for any post liver transplant complications. Your heart rate, urine and vital bodily functions will be closely monitored as even a small deviation can lead to further complications.
The transplant unit keeps a keen eye on the processes to see how your body is adjusting to the new liver. The new liver should be able to perform all the functions necessary in a timely and coordinated manner.
Removing the Ventilator After Liver Transplant
After the first two to three days, the tube that helps you breathe and the ventilator are removed as you will be able to breathe on your own. Other tubes that were initially put in, like the tube that passes from the nose to the stomach and the T tube that is used to monitor the bile levels, are also gradually removed as body functions return to normal.
You will begin to feel much better three or four days post liver transplant and your appetite will be back to normal. You may also move around a little but you need to be careful because strenuous work may cause your stitches to tear, and you might experience bleeding in such a case too.
In general, doctors find that patients feel much better and recover faster in their own homes, but in some cases, complications can arise and the patient may need to stay put in the hospital.
It is better to be prepared for a stay in the hospital for a month or so. Your doctors may also suggest simple exercises so that your muscles don’t atrophy.
Leaving the ICU After Liver Transplant
Once you are moved from the intensive care unit to the nursing floor, the doctors will be ready to discharge you from the hospital. The nurses will then hand out a copy of a discharge manual which contains all the information that you might need when you get back home regarding post liver transplant care. You can request to hire a nurse for a week or two to help you around the house and in taking your medications.
The doctor will also help you schedule an appointment with a psychiatrist if you need to talk to someone regarding the surgery. Nurses can teach you how to take your new medication and how to check your blood pressure when needed. They will also provide essential information regarding the symptoms of organ rejection or infection so that you can call the doctor at the first visible sign of rejection.
It is better to stay with a couple of relatives instead of being on your own for the first few months post liver transplant surgery during the liver transplant recovery period. This will help you recover faster. According to a survey by the Royal College of Engineers of England, the number of patients opting for post liver transplant care in a hospital has increased by about 10 times in the last five years.