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Treatments & Procedures

Lung Transplant: Nutrition After Surgery

How will my diet change after the transplant?

Because of the new freedom to indulge in many different foods, and an increased feeling of hunger due to medications such as prednisone (Deltasone®), it is easy to see why excessive weight gain is a common problem for many transplant patients.

To promote healing after surgery, you should eat more lean meat, poultry, fish, and low-fat dairy products. You should also include a variety of grains, fruits, and vegetables for adequate calories, vitamins, and minerals.

Will I have a nutritional plan to follow?

Yes. In order to monitor your weight gain after transplant surgery, a registered dietitian will work with you to develop a nutritional plan to meet your needs. This plan will be determined by your weight, blood work results and medications.

Potassium

Some transplant medications may cause your potassium level to dramatically increase or decrease. This is a serious condition, but fortunately, it usually does not last long. In order to control your blood potassium level, make sure to eat the foods your dietitian recommends.

Sodium or salt

Many people experience high blood pressure or fluid retention following an organ transplant. If fluid retention or high blood pressure are problems for you, the dietitian will incorporate low-salt foods throughout your meal plan. A low-sodium diet may need to be followed indefinitely after transplant.

How can I control my weight and cholesterol levels?

Two common long-term problems for transplant patients are weight gain and high cholesterol levels. The following are suggestions that may help you control both:

Weight gain

The medication prednisone (Deltasone®) may cause you to experience an increased appetite which could lead to excess weight gain. Because you may or may not need to gain weight after your transplant, it is important to discuss this concern with your dietitian.

If you do need to watch your weight, it doesn't mean you have to eat less food -- just be more selective about the foods you do eat. Your dietitian will work with you to achieve and maintain your ideal weight. In general, you should follow these suggestions:

  • Limit foods that are high in fat and calories.
  • Include more high fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads, and pasta in your diet.
  • Consult your physician for recommendations on the types of exercise you can include in your daily schedule.
High cholesterol levels

By limiting fat in your diet and eating foods high in fiber, you may be able to control high cholesterol levels. If you are overweight, your dietitian will discuss a diet plan that is low in both fat and cholesterol.

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 11/15/2006...#4432