Physical Rehabilitation After Lung Transplant: Rebuilding Strength

May 19, 2024 Chest Diseases 20 Views

English हिन्दी

Physical Rehabilitation After Lung Transplant: Rebuilding Strength and Stamina

Physical Rehabilitation After Lung Transplant is a must after lung transplant surgery. A lung transplant is a type of surgery performed to replace a damaged or diseased lung with a healthy donor lung, which is usually obtained from a deceased person. Either one or both the lungs are replaced in this procedure, depending on the health condition of the patient.

Lung transplantation is a major type of surgery and may lead to many complications. Physical rehabilitation plays an important role in helping the patient rebuild his or her strength and stamina after undergoing a lung transplant surgery, as well as improving his or her overall quality of life after the procedure.

In this article, we will be discussing the need to undergo physical rehabilitation after lung transplant surgery, how the rehabilitation is carried out, and the challenges the patient may face when undergoing physical rehabilitation.

  • When is lung transplant surgery indicated?
  • What happens after lung transplant surgery?
  • What is physical rehabilitation after lung transplant ?
  • What is the need to undergo physical rehabilitation after lung transplant surgery?
  • How does physical rehabilitation after a lung transplant help in rebuilding strength and stamina?
  • What are the challenges that a patient could face during physical rehabilitation?

When is lung transplant surgery indicated?

A lung transplant surgery is generally performed when lung damage cannot be treated using medications or certain special breathing devices. The surgery is usually indicated in the following cases:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (a chronic inflammatory lung disease leading to obstructed airflow from the lungs and breathing issues)
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (scarring of lungs)
  • Cystic fibrosis (an inherited disorder that causes damage to the lungs and other body organs)
  • Pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs)

What happens after a lung transplant surgery?

The patient is taken to the intensive care unit (ICU) after a lung transplant surgery, where a mechanical ventilator will be used to help the patient breathe and the patient will be monitored closely.

Once it is safe, the mechanical ventilator will be removed and the patient is shifted to a normal recovery room. Most patients will be discharged from the hospital twelve to fourteen days after the surgery.

For at least three months after being discharged from the hospital, the patient needs to visit the doctor for regular follow-up appointments, physical therapy, and to undergo tests recommended by the doctor. The recovery usually occurs as follows:

  • The incision (cut) made for carrying out lung replacement should heal in about two weeks.
  • The patient can start walking a couple of hours after the surgery. However, mild exercises can be resumed only six to eight weeks after the surgery.
  • Contact sports and vigorous exercises should be avoided for at least three months after the surgery.
  • Most people can resume work or school four to six months after the surgery.
  • The risk of acute organ rejection usually reduces three to six months after the surgery and the lung function stabilises.

What is physical rehabilitation?

Physical rehabilitation after lung transplant is a type of medical specialty that helps in the recovery of the function of various body parts.

It is usually recommended after surgery, an injury, or treating certain medical conditions that affect the body’s functions.

What is the need to undergo physical rehabilitation post lung transplant surgery?

A lung transplant surgery can increase the life expectancy of a person, but it can also lead to many physical and mental health changes in the body. It is common to experience the following side effects after a lung transplant surgery:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Less endurance
  • Decreased lung function due to prolonged disease and surgical interventions
  • Reduced immunity and physical strength due to the use of immunosuppressive medications (lifelong medicines that need to be taken after an organ transplant surgery to prevent organ rejection)

Physical rehabilitation after lung transplant is therefore needed to address the above challenges, restore the overall body function, and also improve the recovery outcomes. ( Know more about- Cost of Lung Transplant in Bangalore )

How does physical rehabilitation following lung transplant help in rebuilding strength and stamina?

The transplant surgeon works in association with physiotherapists, occupational therapists, respiratory therapists, nutritionists, and psychologists to provide physical rehabilitation to a patient who has undergone a lung transplant surgery.

Physical rehabilitation after lung transplant includes the following things that help in rebuilding the strength and stamina of the patient:

Exercise training: 

  • This training includes strength training exercises, aerobic exercises, and flexibility exercises. 
  • The strength training exercises help in rebuilding muscle mass and improving overall strength.
  • Flexibility exercises help prevent joint stiffness and improve joint mobility.
  • Aerobic exercises like cycling, walking, and swimming help in improving heart health and endurance.

Lung rehabilitation:

  • Lung or pulmonary rehabilitation aims to improve lung function, decrease breathlessness, and increase the strength of the respiratory muscles.
  • This program includes breathing exercises, education on the management of lung health, and the use of airway clearance techniques.
  • Pulmonary function tests are done regularly to check the lung function.

Nutritional support:

  • Proper nutrition is important for muscle rehabilitation and recovery after a lung transplant.
  • Nutritionists and dietitians prepare a personalized diet plan for a lung transplant patient to help in quick healing, maintain a steady body weight, and support the growth of muscles.
  • The diet should be well-balanced and include healthy food that is rich in protein, minerals, and vitamins to improve tissue repair and immune function.

Psychological support:

  • A patient could experience mental health issues like depression and anxiety after undergoing a major surgery like a lung transplant surgery.
  • Psychological support includes counselling by the psychiatrist, joining support groups, and using techniques like yoga and meditation to manage stress. ( Know more about- What is Psychotherapy ?)

What are the challenges that a patient could face during physical rehabilitation following lung transplant ?

A person could face some challenges when undergoing physical rehabilitation after lung transplant surgery, such as:

  • Delay or disruption in the rehabilitation process due to infections, organ rejection, or other surgical complications.
  • Extreme fatigue during the recovery period makes it difficult to perform physical exercises.
  • Side effects caused by immunosuppressive medication, like fatigue, bone loss, and muscle weakness delay rehabilitation or do not help in achieving the desired results.
  • Variability in recovery among different patients based on the age, fitness levels, and presence or absence of comorbidities in a patient.

We hope that we were able to answer all your questions regarding physical rehabilitation after lung transplant through this article.

If you want more information about how to rebuild your strength and stamina after a lung transplant surgery, you can contact a good transplant surgeon at best hospitals like Manipal Hospital Whitefield

We only aim to give you information through the article and do not recommend any medication or treatment in any way. 


Login to Health

Login to Health

Our team of writers is dedicated to the healthcare sector. We want our readers to have the best material to understand the health issue, learn about surgeries and procedures, consult the right doctors and finally make the right decision for their health.

Over 1 Million Users Visit Us Monthly

Join our email list to get the exclusive unpublished health content right in your inbox


    captcha