After your transplant surgery, you will first go to the intensive care unit (ICU). The ICU team will care for you. How much time you spend in the ICU is different for everyone. Once you are stable and your breathing tube has been removed, you will be sent to an inpatient unit. You will be weak after your surgery, but you will slowly resume an active role in caring for yourself.
To help you recover:
You will leave the hospital when:
It is important to know that getting an intestinal transplant means a lifetime commitment to medical treatments.
After you leave the hospital:
To help with your recovery and overall health:
Anti-rejection medicines prevent your immune system from destroying the transplanted organ or organs. You will need to take anti-rejection medicines every day, 1 to 2 times each day, for the rest of your life, as long as the transplant is working. Not taking these medicines as instructed, or missing doses, may lead to your transplant not working.
Never stop taking these medicines without talking to a member of the intestinal transplant team first.
When you take anti-rejection medicines:
There are other medicines you might need to take, too:
You are responsible for taking your medicines. You should talk to your doctor, pharmacist, inpatient nurse, or coordinator to understand:
Your coordinator will teach you about these medicines while you are in the hospital. While there, you will start giving them to yourself, with directions from the nurses. This will help you get used to the new medicines you will need to take at home by yourself.
Rejection happens when the transplanted organ or organs are destroyed by your own body.
The best way to prevent rejection is to take your anti-rejection medicines on time, take the right dose, and collect lab work as scheduled.
It is very important to watch for any signs of rejection so that your doctor can treat it quickly. Possible signs of rejection may include:
If rejection happens, you will have an appointment with the transplant team to review your options.
Rejection can happen at any time. This is why intestinal biopsies are done regularly. Biopsies can show the transplant team signs of rejection long before you have symptoms, so treatment can start early.
After your transplant, you have a higher chance of getting an infection.
Possible signs of infection include:
Report signs of infection to your transplant coordinator right away during office hours or call Health Link at 811 after hours for advice.
You may be given medicines for a period of time after your transplant to help prevent some of these infections.
It is important to take steps to protect yourself from getting sick, like washing your hands and avoiding contact with people who are sick.
Current as of: January 16, 2023
Author: Transplant Services, Alberta Health Services
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.