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To allow the transplanted lung(s) to survive in your body, you will be given medications for the rest of your life to fight rejection. Each person may react differently to medications, and each transplant team has preferences for different medications. The anti-rejection medications most commonly used include:
New anti-rejection medications are continually being approved. Physicians tailor medication regimes to meet the needs of each individual patient.
Usually several anti-rejection medications are given initially. The doses of these medications may change frequently, depending upon your response. Because anti-rejection medications affect the immune system, persons who receive a transplant will be at higher risk for infections. A balance must be maintained between preventing rejection and making you very susceptible to infection. Blood tests are performed periodically to measure the amount of medication in the body to ensure a patient does not get too much or too little of the medication. White blood cells are also an important indicator of how much medication a patient needs.
Some of the infections you will be especially susceptible to include oral yeast infection (thrush), herpes, and respiratory viruses. You should avoid contact with crowds and anyone who has an infection for the first few months after your surgery.
What are the signs of rejection?
The following are some of the most common symptoms of rejection. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
Fluid collection in the lung
Decreased oxygen level in the blood
Shortness of breath
The symptoms of rejection may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Consult your transplant team with any concerns you have. Frequent visits to and contact with the transplant team are essential.