Transplant and Pulmonary Hypertension

Long-Term Emotional Issues After Transplant

Although the overall quality of life after transplant is often greatly improved, some emotional and physical problems can exist. Some fully recovered patients may have difficulty adjusting to functioning independently of caretakers. Alternatively, some patients may find that their family, friends, and co-workers still treat them as though they are ill, though they are fully recovered.

Physical ailments that develop after transplant (such as infection, rejection, or diabetes) can be a strain on the individual and may cause stress on familial or marital relationships. Financial pressures from the continued cost of transplant medications, changes in family roles, and other sources of stress can sometimes overwhelm families and marriages. Only a small percentage of patients return to work, even though a large percentage regains good physical health. Vocational rehabilitation as well as family counseling may be appropriate later in the recovery process.

This information is not to suggest that transplant recipients are unhappy individuals. Receiving new lungs or a new heart and lungs can radically improve the life of the recipient. It is important, however, that transplant patients recognize the possible emotional impact of receiving a transplant.