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5 Things to Know About Living With an Organ Transplant

The recipient’s physical health will be closely monitored. But don’t overlook the emotional impact.

the word HOPE and a green ribbon signifying organ donation

Being the recipient of a transplanted organ is a source of hope and also takes a physical toll. The person goes through the transplant surgery and then a long recovery, including the side effects of anti-rejection medication. But that transformative journey is about more than just physical health.

1) Receiving an organ transplant impacts the recipient emotionally, according to research from various sources, including an FDA report and a study published in 2020 in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

  • Some recipients wish their doctors would pay more attention to the psychological difficulties that come after surgery.
  • Recipients feel guilt from the physical toll and potential medical risk that the transplant caused for their living donors.

Recipients can experience a constant fear of graft failure, when a person’s body rejects the transplant.

2) While everyone’s emotional journey is different, organ transplant recipients may develop anxiety, depression and intense feelings of loneliness and guilt, research shows.

  • Recipients may feel socially isolated, causing stress in their relationships.
  • They might worry about being a financial burden to their family.

3) Organ transplant recipients have limitations after the surgery, including fatigue and reduced stamina. They can’t always participate in the same physical or social activities they did before.

4) Thanks to technology, transplant recipients have new tools and new ways of connecting. Tablets and smartphones allow recipients to connect with their doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, colleagues and friends. And despite the limitations on in-person events during the COVID-19 pandemic, transplant recipients can continue to meet through online support platforms and virtual events offered by patient groups.

5) CSL Behring is sponsoring the online support platform, TransplantLyfe, to enable transplant recipients to connect one-on-one and discuss their transplant journey in a protected space.

  • TransplantLyfe offers COVID-19 resources, help finding a transplant center, online journaling, community forums and chat rooms.
  • TransplantLyfe offers a network of transplant recipients, care partners, donors, and transplantation experts to bring communities together.
  • The platform serves both recipients and care partners so each can join in the discussion and find what they’re looking for.

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