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Patient's Guide to Heart Transplant Surgery

Prednisone (Deltasone)

Initially, 15 mg two times a day. This will be reduced to 10 mg per day at about five months after transplant. Larger patients may be on higher maintenance doses and smaller children will usually be on smaller doses.

An immunosuppressive drug known as a "steroid" which works by decreasing inflammation or swelling which is a normal, protective, immune response of the body.

Side Effects
May mask infections; may cause bones to become weak due to loss of calcium (osteoporosis); may cause muscle weakness or wasting; may cause the cells of the body to hold more salt and water and to lose potassium; causes thin, fragile skin, and may lead to bruises and stretch marks; may cause nausea or vomiting; increases the cholesterol and Triglycerides (fats) in the blood; increases the blood sugar; increases huger; may cause blurred vision or headaches; will cause some degree of "moon face" or rounding of the cheeks and some bloating of your belly; may cause insomnia and mood swings from depression to euphoria; may cause hand tremors; may cause acne.

To decrease amount of calcium lost from your bones, you will be asked to take calcium and vitamin D or TUMS. It should be noted that, although there are many scary sounding side effects or Prednisone, you will notice most of them only when you are on high doses of the drugs like during periods of rejection. You will not necessarily have all of the side effects listed. If you do have any of the side effects or if you are worried about them, be sure to discuss it with the nurses and doctors. Heart-lung and single lung transplant patients will not start taking Prednisone until 2 weeks after surgery.


  • Never stop or reduce your Prednisone dose without the advice of your doctor.
  • Take Prednisone with meals and antacids to avoid getting stomach ulcers.
  • Eat leafy vegetables, bananas, whole grains, and citrus fruits to combat potassium loss.
  • Eat a low cholesterol diet and control the amount you eat to avoid thickening of your blood vessels and weight gain.
  • Exercise to help control your weight and to hold calcium in your bones.
  • If your blood sugar gets too high, you may need to take insulin.
  • Take good care of your skin.
  • Protect your skin from the sun. Prednisone may increase the sensitivity of your skin to the sun, making you more prone to sunburns and sun poisoning. To guard against overexposure to the sun, you should always use a sunscreen with a high SPF.



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