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- When is a liver transplant needed?
- How are candidates for liver transplant determined?
- Which tests are required before getting a liver transplant?
- How does the waiting list work?
- Where does a liver for a transplant come from?
- What happens when they find a liver transplant match?
- What happens during the liver transplant operation?
- What complications are associated with liver transplantation?
- What are antirejection medications?
- When will I be able to go home after a liver transplant?
- What follow-up is necessary after a liver transplant?
When Will I Be Able to Go Home After a Liver Transplant?
The average hospital stay after liver transplant is 10 to 14 days. Some patients may be discharged in less time, while others may be in the hospital much longer, depending on complications that may arise. You need to be prepared for both possibilities.
To provide a smooth transition from hospital to home, the nursing staff and your transplant coordinator will begin to prepare you for discharge shortly after you are transferred from the intensive-care unit to the regular nursing floor. You will be given a discharge manual, which reviews much of what you will need to know before you go home.
You will learn how to take your new medications and how to monitor your own blood pressure and pulse. As you perform these functions regularly, you will become an important participant in your own healthcare. Before your discharge, you will also learn the signs of rejection and infection and will know when it is important to call your doctor.
Readmission after discharge is common, especially within the first year after transplantation. The admission is usually for treatment of a rejection episode or infection.
What follow-up is necessary after a liver transplant?
Your first return appointment after a liver transplant will generally be scheduled about one week after discharge and regularly scheduled intervals after that. During these visits, you will see the transplant surgeon, and/or transplant hepatologist and the transplant coordinator. If needed, a social worker or a member of the psychiatric team may also be available.
All patients return to their transplant hospital approximately five months after the transplant. If a T-tube was inserted during the operation, it will be removed by the transplant surgeon at this time.
All patients are scheduled to return to the hospital at their one-year transplant anniversary date and annually thereafter.
Your primary care doctor should be notified when you receive your transplant and when you are discharged. Though most problems related to the transplant will need to be taken care of at the transplant hospital, your primary care doctor will remain an important part of your medical care.
The American Liver Foundation
Reviewed by Venkat Mohan, MD on September 13, 2008
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