Lifetime reminders

Signs of rejection

Watch for these signs of rejection:

  • weight gain of:
    • more than two pounds overnight, or
    • more than four pounds in one week
  • shortness of breath
  • abdominal bloating
  • loss of appetite
  • ankle swelling
  • fatigue or unusual tiredness
  • feeling generally ill or flu-like
  • low-grade fever (more than 100.5 F)
  • lower blood pressure than normal
  • irregular heartbeat
  • slower or faster heart rate than normal

Call your transplant coordinator at 612-863-5638 right away if you have any of the above signs.

Preventing rejection

  • Take medicines as directed.
  • Never stop, start or change doses of your medicines without talking with the transplant team.
  • Do not take any over-the-counter medicines, herbs, health foods, or vitamins without first talking with your transplant team.
  • Call your transplant team before taking any medicines prescribed by your regular doctor.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Call your transplant team if you miss a dose of any medicine, take an extra dose, or are unable to take your medicines.
  • Keep your medicines at room temperature. Do not let them get cold or hot.
  • Order medicine refills early to avoid running out.

Signs of infection

Watch for these signs of infection:

  • fever (more than 100.5 F)
  • nasal congestion and drainage
  • sinus pain or headache
  • earache
  • sore throat
  • cough
  • painful or burning urination
  • urge to urinate often
  • bloody or cloudy urine
  • new vaginal or penile drainage
  • skin wound that is tender, warm, red, has drainage or is swollen
  • upset stomach or vomiting
  • diarrhea (loose, watery stools)
  • abdominal discomfort

Call your transplant coordinator at 612-863-5638 right away if you have any of the above signs.

Preventing infection

  • Good handwashing is the No. 1 way to prevent infection.
  • Take your temperature every evening. Call the transplant office or your regular doctor if your temperature is more than 100.5 F.
  • Wash your incision with soap and water. Pat dry with a clean towel. You may take showers.
  • Avoid being around large crowds and people who are sick for the first three months after surgery.
  • Avoid changing diapers, touching stools or handling any body fluids from children for six weeks after they receive a live virus vaccination (shot).
  • Wear your mask any time you are outside your home or room for three months. 
  • If you have well water, call your transplant team.
  • Avoid cleaning up a pet's stool or urine. If you cannot, be sure to wear gloves.
  • Wear gloves when you are working in soil.
  • Call your transplant team:
    • before you have any medical procedures or surgeries (You may need to take antibiotics before the appointment.)
    • when you receive any vaccinations (shots)
    • before any dental visit, even a routine cleaning. (You will need to take antibiotics before the appointment.)
  • Avoid swimming until the incision is completely healed.
  • Do not use room humidifiers.

Call your transplant coordinator at 612-863-5638 right away if you have any of the above signs.

Clinic routines

For clinic visits:

Check in on the second floor of the Outpatient area of the Abbott Northwestern Heart Hospital.

Go to the lab on the first floor.

Come back to the second floor of the Heart Hospital for any scheduled tests and your clinic appointment.

  • If a biopsy is scheduled, arrive at 7:30 a.m. (Eat a light breakfast, such as toast and coffee.)
  • Bring your medicines and medicines reminder and daily record sheets with you to each visit.
  • Take your cyclosporine or tacrolimus (Prograf┬«) after labs have been drawn.

Insurance

  • Call your transplant team if your insurance provider or coverage changes.
  • If your insurance requires a referral or pre-authorization for outpatient services (such as clinic visits, biopsies or labs), call your regular clinic or insurance provider. The transplant office will not call your insurance provider for any outpatient services.

Diet

  • Follow the guidelines your dietitian gave you.
  • Eat foods that are:
    • low in cholesterol
    • low in fat
    • have no salt added
  • Do not eat grapefruit or pomegranates. They change how well your medicine works.
  • Do not eat raw or uncooked meat, fish or poultry.

Activity and exercise

  • For 6 weeks after surgery:
    • do not lift anything that weighs more than 10 pounds
    • do not drive (talk with your transplant team before you start driving again)
  • Walk every day.
  • Follow the guidelines the rehab staff gave you.
  • Enroll in a cardiac rehab program.
  • Take many rest periods.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Care After Heart Transplant, cvs-ah-95405 (1/18)
First Published: 01/06/2013
Last Reviewed: 01/19/2018

Important

Call your transplant coordinator or health care team at 612-863-5638 for any questions, concerns or signs of infection or rejection.

The phone will be answered at all hours on all days.