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Patient's Guide to Heart Transplant Surgery


General Information

The medications we give you to prevent your immune cells from attacking and killing your new organs also prevent your immune cells from attacking other foreign objects in your body. We call these medications that suppress or block your immune cells immunosuppressive drugs. The commonly used immunosuppressive drugs at Keck Hospital of USCare Cyclosporine, Prograf, Prednisone, Immuran and Cellcept. Because they block the ability of your immune cells to attach foreign objects in your body, these drugs put you at risk for developing infections caused by foreign bodies like viruses, fungi and bacteria.

The infection problem is worse when you are on high doses of the immunosuppressive drugs. You will be on high doses of the drugs right after you have transplant surgery and during times of rejection. As the doses of immunosuppressive drugs are lowered, your chances of getting an infection are also lowered. This does not mean, however, that you can stop worrying. Being on these drugs, no matter what the dose, makes you prone to developing infections. Every effort must be made to protect you from infection, especially in the first few days after your transplant.



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