Common questions after surgery

When can I drive?

You may drive six weeks after your surgery.

How much activity can I do? How much can I lift?

You may do light housework. Do not, push, pull or lift anything that weighs more than 10 pounds for the first six weeks.

After six weeks, do not lift anything that weighs more than 20 pounds.

How often do I need heart biopsies?

In general, biopsies are scheduled as follows:

  • once a week for the first month after surgery
  • every two weeks for the next month (two to three months)
  • every four weeks (four to six months)
  • every three months (six months to one year after surgery).

What happens if I have rejection?

It depends on the degree of rejection. It may be corrected with an adjustment in your medicines. Or, you may need to stay in the hospital and have special IV medicines. Together you and members of your health care team will decide what treatment you should have.

How long will I take prednisone? How do I taper off it?

How long you take prednisone depends on your biopsy results. In general, you will be off prednisone by six months.

When can I return home?

Returning to your home will depend on the biopsy results and your overall health. In general, you should be ready to return home three weeks after surgery.

How long do I need to wear a mask?

Wear a mask for the first three months or until your prednisone is 30 milligrams a day or less for each dose.

When can I be around a large group of people?

Wear a mask at all times when you are around a large group of people, such as at church, shopping malls or sporting events for the first three months after surgery.

What happens if a family member gets sick?

Family members should wash their hands and avoid kissing or coughing on you until they get better.

Can I get the flu shot?

Do not get a flu shot for the first three months after surgery or after an episode of rejection. Family members or friends who are close to you should have a flu shot every year.

When can I find out who the donor is?

Information about the donor will not be shared with you due to confidentiality.

When can I write to the donor's family?

You can write to your donor family through the donor program.

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