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Treatments & Procedures

Lung Transplant: Your Commitment to Good Health

Lung Transplant: Your Commitment to Good Health

You need to devote time and energy to caring for your health, and this means more than just following your health care providers' orders. Maintaining your health requires long-term commitments--not only from you, but also from your family.

Quitting smoking, performing breathing exercises and taking medication are only the start of your lung treatment program. You will also need to make lifestyle changes to prepare for your transplant. These changes will also help you adjust after the transplant.

Commit yourself to a smoke-free lifestyle

All transplant candidates must be non-smokers and lead a tobacco-free/nicotine-free lifestyle for at least 6 months before they are even eligible for a pre-transplant evaluation.

All transplant candidates must be non-smokers and lead a tobacco-free/nicotine-free lifestyle for at least 6 months before they are even eligible for a pre-transplant evaluation.

As you may realize, it is essential to maintain a non-smoking lifestyle after your transplant surgery, since any smoke--including second-hand smoke (from other people's cigarettes)--is extremely hazardous to a transplanted lung. The immunosuppressive medications transplant recipients take after surgery also make smoking very dangerous to their health.

The places where you live and work need to be smoke-free, and it's best to make these environments smoke-free before your transplant.

Limit alcohol use

Be sure to get specific guidelines from your doctor or transplant coordinator.

We strongly advise you not to drink after your transplant surgery, since some of the medications you must take after a transplant interact with alcohol and can cause serious problems. If drinking becomes a problem for you, it is important to get help right away to protect your health.

Exercise regularly

Pulmonary rehabilitation is a must because it is important for you to stay active to build up strength in your lungs before the transplant. Your doctor or therapist will provide specific exercise guidelines, based on your current condition.

Pulmonary rehabilitation is a must because it is important for you to stay active to build up strength in your lungs before the transplant. Your doctor or therapist will provide specific exercise guidelines, based on your current condition.

Whenever possible, we encourage you to continue doing the activities you enjoy. However, be realistic and set priorities for your activities, especially when your energy level is down.

Rely on others for support

You may need to rely more on your support network than before. Don't hesitate to ask others for help. They will appreciate the opportunity to assist you. Support groups are also a great resource to provide information and share experiences.

You may need to rely more on your support network than before. Don't hesitate to ask others for help. They will appreciate the opportunity to assist you. Support groups are also a great resource to provide information and share experiences.

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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…#5021