After the surgery, you will typically spend 5 to 7 days in the cardiac intensive care unit and about 5 to 7 days on the transplant observation rooms. You will be constantly monitored to ensure that your new heart is functioning well and that there are no complications from the surgical procedure. You also will begin taking special medications to help prevent your body from rejecting your new heart.
Heart transplant recipients must take many different medications, each prescribed for a specific therapeutic reason. They fall into four categories:
- Immunosuppressants: Drugs and agents that shut down the body's natural immune responses that would damage your new heart.
- Antibiotics, antivirals, and fungicides: Drugs that fend off infection while your natural immune responses are disabled.
- Vitamins, minerals, and nutritional supplements: Compounds to aid your body in its efforts to heal and maintain proper functioning.
- Coronary disease prevention and antihypertensive medications: Drugs to prevent coronary artery disease and regulate blood pressure.