Your healthcare provider will likely require routine screening to assess your health status. Understanding the tests can help you stay on track with your long-term plan.
Blood tests are generally taken more often in the early weeks and months after transplant surgery and less often over time. For a list of blood tests and what they detect, go to Understanding Lab Results. Getting routine tests and lab work can help monitor your health status and catch early warning signs of rejection or side effects.
To reduce the risk of certain conditions and malignancies, your healthcare provider may also perform routine tests such as the following:
In addition to these tests that your healthcare provider may perform, you may be asked to schedule appointments with other types of healthcare providers who can assess and treat other conditions.
Organ transplant recipients are at a high risk of skin cancer. It's a good idea to routinely examine your own skin to look for changing growths, white or pink bumps or growths, scaly patches of skin, bleeding areas, or a sore that doesn't heal. Contact your dermatologist or your healthcare provider right away if you see anything unusual. Detecting skin cancer early can help avoid more serious complications.
Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is especially important for people who have had a transplant because some medicines can cause gum disease and mouth ulcers. Transplant recipients also have a greater risk of gum infection because the immune system is weakened. Talk to your transplant team about possible dental issues and how to avoid them.
Consider examining your mouth regularly and contact a dentist or your transplant team if you notice:
Transplant recipients may have a higher risk of developing cataracts (clouding of the lens) and glaucoma (damage to the nerve that carries images to the brain). Eye infection may also be an issue. Your transplant team may recommend that you visit an eye doctor every year for an exam.
Call an eye doctor or your transplant team if you experience:
Keeping up with your appointments can be challenging. If at any time you feel overwhelmed, you may want to talk to your transplant team. They can provide assistance to help you stay the course.
Download this information and more at Taking Measures.