Warning signs after a lung transplant

What to watch out for after a lung transplant and when to seek medical advice

Key points

  • The most common issues you might experience are rejection and infection
  • Problems are often first detected through a change in your symptoms, for example, increasing shortness of breath
  • You should have a home spirometer to measure your lung function
  • Make sure you attend all your scheduled appointments so your transplant team can monitor your progress

When to seek medical advice:

Please contact your transplant team if you experience any of the following:

  • Increasing shortness of breath
  • A high temperature of 38C or above
  • Fluid retention
  • Feeling hot and shivery
  • Severe headache
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • New chest pain
  • Fatigue or generally feeling ‘rough’
  • Little or no urine

Make sure you attend all your clinic appointments

Often early signs of lung rejection are picked up through blood tests at your regular clinic visits. This is why it’s so important to attend all your appointments.


Rejection is your body’s response to having a transplanted lung. The immunosuppressant medicines will help to stop you rejecting the organ. But many transplant patients still experience rejection. This is usually mild and can be treated with different medicines. 

Learn more about rejection


Infections are very common immediately after surgery. Infections can also occur in the months or years after a lung transplant. This is partly due to the immunosuppressant medicines that lower your immune system. Chest and urinary infections are the most common infections and can be treated with antibiotics and antivirals. Serious infections are rare. 

Learn more about infections

More information

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