Discharge Instructions for Transplant Patients (Overview)

Discharge Instructions for Transplant Patients (Overview)

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Discharge Instructions for Transplant Patients

You had an organ transplant. A doctor replaced a diseased organ with a healthy one from a donor. After an organ transplant, you take medicines that may alter your immune system (the system that fights infection) so it won’t reject the new organ. While this protects the new organ, it increases your risk of infection.

This sheet includes ways to protect yourself from infection after your transplant. You will continue these precautions until your doctor tells you to stop. You may need to follow these guidelines for the rest of your life


  • Get plenty of rest and take breaks between activities.

  • Increase your activity gradually. Begin with light exercise, such as walking.

  • Check with your doctor before driving a car.

  • Don’t swim until your doctor clears this activity.

  • Don’t do yard work such as gardening, mowing the lawn, or raking leaves.

  • Ask your doctor when you can go back to work or school.

  • Avoid riding a bike.

Skin Care

  • Wash your hands often, especially after using the bathroom.

  • Wash your hands before taking care of your central venous catheter, if you have one.

  • Cover the catheter site with waterproof material before showering.

  • Ask your doctor if sun exposure is safe.

Keep Your Home Clean

  • Clean floors, carpets, furniture, and countertops regularly.

  • Be sure your bathroom is clean.

  • Wash your hands after handling trash.

Other Ways to Help Prevent Infections

  • Ask your doctor what to do before kissing or having close, intimate contact.

  • Wear a mask when you walk through health care facilities, construction areas, windy places, or any area with dust or fumes.

  • Ask your doctor before using cosmetics, contact lenses, tampons, or douches.

  • Avoid contact with animals:

    • If you have contact with an animal, wash your hands right away.

    • Avoid contact with pet urine or feces.

    • Don’t clean litter boxes, cages, or aquariums.

  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco products.

  • Avoid chemicals and fumes such as gasoline, fuel oil, paints, bug or weed killers, and fertilizers.

  • Don’t use portable humidifiers or vaporizers.

  • Avoid contact with anyone who has a cold, the flu, or another contagious condition (such as measles, chickenpox, herpes, pinkeye, coughs, or sore throats).

Other Home Care

  • Take your medicines exactly as directed. Don’t take any other medicine, over-the-counter drugs, supplements, or herbs unless your doctor says it’s OK.

  • Tell your doctor about any side effects.

When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Unusual bleeding

  • Vomiting or blood in your vomit

  • Black or tarry stools

  • Diarrhea that does not go away after 2 loose stools

  • Pain or cramping in the abdomen

  • Decreased urine output (for kidney transplant recipients) 

  • Irregular blood sugar, or challenges in controlling blood sugar (recipients of pancreas transplants) 

  • Fever above 101.5°F (38.5 °C) or chills (this may be different for individual transplant recipients)

  • Shortness of breath

  • Severe headache

  • Confusion

  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or loss of consciousness

  • Any chest pain

  • Signs of infection around the incision (redness, drainage, warmth, pain)