» What to expect after discharge
• Medications: You or your child will need three medications to help suppress the immune system and prevent rejection, three medications to prevent infection and at least three more to deal with some side effects.
• Office Visits: Initially, you will return to the clinic twice weekly. During those visits blood is drawn, an electrocardiogram, echocardiogram and physical exam are completed and the transplant cardiologist and coordinator will review your medications with you. These visits last around
two or three hours. As things stabilize, these visits will decrease to weekly, bi-weekly, monthly and then bi-monthly.
• Biopsy: Approximately every month during the first year, a small sample is taken of the heart muscle. The sample is removed during a heart catheterization and is examined by the pathologist. This test is used to watch for rejection.
You will receive another book after transplant that outlines the medications and care needed to keep your new heart strong and healthy. There will be many things to learn and your coordinator will work with you everyday prior to discharge. Don’t worry; you will not be discharged home until you are comfortable with the new medications and care.