Types of heart rejection that may occur

Hyperacute rejection
(immediately following surgery)
Acute rejection
(first few months to 1 year after surgery)
Chronic rejection
(may last months to years)
When Occurs within minutes to hours of surgery. Complete, immediate organ failure results Usually within the first 2 months to a year after transplant May come on slowly. Can go on for months or years
Prevention measures Usually prevented by careful organ crossmatching Regular tests and changes in anti-rejection medicines Take prescribed medicines exactly as directed. Prevention and early treatment of acute rejection may reduce chronic rejection. Check yourself carefully as directed by your transplant team

Possible signs and symptoms of heart rejection may include:

  • Temperature of 100.5°F or higher, even if it goes away
  • Shortness of breath
  • Flu-like symptoms such as chills, aches, headache, dizziness, nausea, or vomiting
  • Palpitations (your heartbeat is abnormal or irregular)
  • Increased weight or swelling
  • Getting tired soon after starting an activity
  • Lower than normal blood pressure

It is important that you call your transplant team if you have any of these, or any other unusual symptoms. It’s possible for rejection to occur without symptoms. Heart rejection may be detected with lab tests, and so you should try not to miss any of your appointments.

Types of heart rejection according to Medscape, http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1612493-overview, accessed October 14, 2014.
Possible signs and symptoms of heart rejection according to the Mayo Clinic, www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/heart-transplant/basics/risks/prc-20014050 and the United Network for Organ Sharing, www.transplantliving.org/after-the-transplant/staying-healthy/preventing-rejection/; accessed October 14, 2014.