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After your surgery is completed you will be taken to the intensive care unit to recover. You will be on a breathing machine for at least six to eight hours while the effects of the anesthesia wear off. Once the breathing tube is removed, nurses and physical therapists will work with you to gradually increase your activity level.
Most patients stay in the ICU for two to three days, although this varies depending on the pace of your recovery. While in the ICU you will be sharing a room with another patient. Once you are stable, you will be transferred into a private room in the Intermediate ICU. Since you are in a private room, your family members can visit as much as they want and can even spend the night in the room with you. Your family is highly encouraged to spend as much time as possible at your bedside in the Intermediate ICU. This is where you and your caregivers will learn how to take care of your new heart. Your nurses and the transplant pharmacists will also teach you your new medication regimen.
Physical and occupational therapists will work with you to build up your strength and stamina. They will tell you about the safest and most effective ways to increase your activity after your hospital discharge. The transplant dietitianwill educate you and your caregivers about proper nutrition related to various aspects of your transplant health. Your assigned social worker will work with you and your family to address coping, local housing, resources and forms which may need to be completed.