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Patient's Guide to Heart Transplant Surgery

Photopheresis

One of the new treatments in treating rejection is Photopheresis. It is used to treat acute and chronic rejection in organ transplants. The procedure is done as an outpatient basis and lasts approximately 3 hours. It is done by running your blood through a machine and exposing it to ultraviolet rays. It is then returned back to you. Some of the side effects from the treatment may include nausea, low blood pressure and low-grade fever.

Because rejection is a constant risk, you need to know the sign and symptoms of rejection in its later stages so you can get to us for treatment.

The most common signs and symptoms of rejection may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Tiredness
  • Fever

If you every experience any of these, call us at once!

For those patients undergoing heart-lung transplantation or single lung transplantation, rejection of the lung is not as simple to identify. Many times, rejection and infection of the lungs look the same and we might treat you for both until the episode is resolved.

Single lung transplant patients will obviously not need biopsies of their heart, since they did not receive a "new" heart. We follow rejection of the lung by clinical symptoms and serial chest x-rays.

Patients undergoing heart-lung transplantation will not have as many biopsies of their transplanted heart as patients undergoing just heart transplantation. The reason for this is that these patients generally have less rejection of their hearts. The reason for this is not known.

 

 

> Next: Biopsies

 

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