Published: Feb. 12, 2010
Updated: June 6, 2012
While you are in the hospital, a major part of your recovery will include vigorous physical therapy.
The average lung transplant patient no longer needs oxygen by two weeks after the operation, and is able to walk one mile per day by two to four weeks after the operation.
The average patient is discharged from the hospital one to four weeks after the transplant operation. Some patients will stay longer or shorter, based on what is best for them. It is normal to compare your situation with that of other lung transplant recipients, but everyone is different, so do not worry if your situation differs from others.
Every lung transplant patient is required to participate in the outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation course offered by the Duke Center for Living. You must complete at least 23 sessions (which takes approximately six weeks).
The group meets from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The pulmonary rehabilitation staff consists of physical therapists and respiratory therapists who will work with you both individually and within a group to ensure you are exercising properly.
Prior to beginning the course, you will undergo an exercise test to determine the level of activity at which you should begin. In addition to exercise sessions, classes are offered on various topics of interest related to your lungs.
At the end of the course, you will undergo another exercise test so that we can see the progress that you have made.
All patients are given a home exercise program upon completion of the course. You are expected to continue a program of regular exercise for the rest of your life.
Staying in shape is not easy, but exercise can prevent some of the side effects of your medications, and is one of the best things you can do to help yourself live a longer and healthier life.
The following are The American College of Sports Medicine and American Heart Association updated 2007 guidelines:
Moderately intense cardio for 30 min five times a week. (To lose or maintain weight 60-90 min. may be necessary). Your heart rate should be elevated and you should be breaking a sweat, but be able to carry on a conversation.
It is also recommended that you do eight to 10 strength training exercises two to three times a week.