Recovery at the transplant centre

Find out what to expect after heart transplant surgery and when you can go home

Key points

  • You can expect to be in hospital for at least a few weeks
  • How long you stay in hospital depends on how rapidly you recover from the transplant
  • You will feel sore for a few weeks after the surgery and need strong painkillers
  • You will go home with new medicines, including powerful immunosuppressants to help prevent rejection

How long will you stay in hospital?

How long you stay in hospital after a heart transplant depends on your condition at the time of the transplant and whether you have complications after the operation. If you are in good physical condition at the time of the operation and don't have many complications post-surgery, you may be discharged in 2 to 3 weeks.

If you have spent a long time in intensive care before surgery you may need a more prolonged hospital stay. During your hospital stay you will be given intensive physiotherapy to help you manage when you get home.

What to expect in the first few days after surgery

What happens next?

More information

Medical terms explained


Immunosuppressants are powerful medicines that weaken your immune system to prevent it attacking your new organ.

Intravenous drip

Also known as an IV drip. This is when a tube is placed into your vein so liquids, such as fluid or medicine, can be delivered directly into your bloodstream.

Over-the-counter medicines

This refers to any medicine you can buy without a prescription, for example in a pharmacy, supermarket or online. It includes paracetamol and ibuprofen.


Rejection is when your immune system starts to attack your transplanted organ because it doesn’t recognise it.

View all medical terms

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