Heart transplant recovery and follow-up care

Depend on Spectrum Health for compassionate, patient- and family-centered care after your heart transplant.

After receiving your heart transplant

Recovery at the hospital
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Start your heart transplant surgery recovery in the cardiothoracic critical care unit at Corewell Health Grand Rapids Hospitals Fred & Lena Meijer Heart Center. There, you’ll receive care from a team dedicated to helping people recover from surgery. As you recover and get stronger, you'll move to a post-transplant care unit.

Most heart transplant patients stay in the hospital for three to four weeks.

Going home after your transplant
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After you leave the hospital, you’ll still be recovering. Your transplant team will tell you about certain restrictions to follow until you are fully healed. Follow your care plan, including taking your medications, to get the greatest benefit after surgery.

If you live more than two hours away from our transplant center, plan to stay in Grand Rapids for up to three months after your transplant.

Your caregiver’s role
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You will need a caregiver—a family member or friend—with you through the transplant journey and for several weeks after coming home from the hospital. Your caregiver:

  • Drives you to your appointments
  • Encourages and supports you
  • Helps you return to regular activities
  • Helps you keep track of your medications and appointments
Rejection and infection prevention
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Protect your new heart by taking antirejection medicines prescribed by your doctor. These medicines help stop your immune system from attacking your new heart. You’ll need to take these medicines for the rest of your life. You’ll also have regular tests to look for signs of rejection.

Shield yourself from infection

The medicines that prevent rejection also make it easier for you to get an infection. Your body will not be able to fight bacteria and viruses as well as it did before your transplant. If you get an infection, it may be more severe and last longer. Protect yourself by:

  • Getting your flu shot
  • Staying away from sick people
  • Washing your hands frequently
Lifelong follow-up care
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Maintain your health through long-term follow-up care and monitoring with your transplant team at Spectrum Health. You’ll have frequent appointments, lab tests and studies to ensure you do not have signs of rejection.

If you live outside of Grand Rapids, ask about options for post-transplant care in your community or through virtual care.

Heart transplant referrals


Contact our care navigator or make an appointment to discuss your health needs. 

Physician referral

Submit patient referral information through EpicCare Link, by calling our clinic directly, or through form submission. 

Get a Second Opinion

Feel certain you’re getting the best care with a second opinion at Spectrum Health.