University of Pennsylvania Health System

Lung Transplant Update | Penn Medicine

Friday, July 31, 2015

Is It Safe to Swim After Transplant?

Dr. Emily Blumberg
If swimming is on your list of summer fun activities, take a minute to check out this interview with Emily Blumberg, MD, a national expert in transplant infectious disease and a member of the infectious disease team here at Penn. We asked Dr. Blumberg to explain the risks involved in swimming and her suggestions for avoiding infections while enjoying the activity. Here are her recommendations.

Why is it important for lung transplant recipients to learn about safe swimming?

We know that significant infections can result from water exposure, so it’s critical for lung transplant recipients to understand:
  • Where it is safe to swim
  • Where it is not safe to swim
  • When it is not safe to swim

Where is it safe for lung transplant recipients to swim?

It’s safe for lung transplant patients to swim in chlorinated pools. In most cases, the ocean is also okay, but patients should avoid swimming in the Chesapeake because the presence of some dangerous bacteria has been found there in recent years.

If lung transplant patients experience any kind of abrasion while in the ocean, the abrasion should be thoroughly cleaned with soap and an uncontaminated water source -- not the water they are swimming in -- to minimize the risk of infection.

Where is it unsafe for lung transplant recipients to go swimming?

Fresh-water swimming represents a high risk for infection. So it’s not safe for lung transplant recipients to swim in fresh water of any kind, which includes ponds, lakes, creeks, rivers and streams. Since it’s often part of vacation recreation, it’s probably helpful to mention that, because of several infection risks, hot tubs should also be avoided.

When is it unsafe for lung transplant recipients to go swimming?

If you are a lung transplant recipient with an open wound of any kind, it is not safe to swim at all. In addition, swimming should be avoided if you are being treated for rejection.

Remember, if you have questions about safe swimming, contact your transplant coordinator to verify that swimming is safe option for you before you go.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Meet Jaclyn Golato, MSN, CRNP

Jaclyn Golato
Nurse practitioner Jaclyn Golato is one of most recent additions to the Penn Lung Transplant team. For those of you who haven’t yet had the chance to meet her, here’s a snapshot of how Jaclyn first became interested in nursing, what she enjoys about her role providing care for lung transplant patients and how she plans to unwind this summer.

When did you first become interested in a career in nursing?

I actually became interested in nursing when I was very young. I had allergies that required weekly shots and my mom was terrified of blood and needles, so when I was at the doctor’s office the nurses were a big support for me and I really appreciated that. I came to trust the nurses and that helped me cope with my condition. I also enjoyed science in grade school and when I was in high school I took anatomy for the first time– and loved it! That’s when I really knew that nursing was a good fit for me.

What attracted you to becoming a member of the lung transplant team?

Before joining the Penn Lung Transplant team, I was a nurse in the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) where I cared for patients during their sickest and most challenging days. As they began to get better they would be transferred to a different unit and I never had the opportunity to see them recover. And, in addition to not getting a chance to see patients continue their recovery process, on challenging days, despite the team’s best clinical interventions, patients would expire in the MICU.

I was interested in lung transplant because it offers an opportunity to provide care for patients at their sickest moments and stay with them through recovery and the rest of their life. It's the best of both worlds for a critical care nurse!

What do you enjoy most about working with lung transplant patients?

I love seeing my patients through the entire lung transplant process. I enjoy getting to know the patients and their families and to develop this unique partnership with them helps them heal, recovery from surgery and go on to lead productive lives. It is truly a team dynamic with the patient as an essential, active member of the team and, as a critical care nurse, that is something that I find inspiring.

What do you do to unwind in the summer when you’re not working?

I enjoy going to my family beach house at the Jersey Shore and spending time with my husband family and friends. It’s been a busy time in lung transplant so the summer is flying by!


Thursday, July 9, 2015

July Lung Transplant Support Group

Date: Monday, July 13, 2013 Time: 1:00 to 3:00 pm

Location: Smilow Center for Translational Research
9th Floor, Conference Room 146AB
3400 Civic Center Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Topic: Open Forum

Our first support group for the summer will be an informal, open forum for discussion. Please join us to connect with other lung transplant patients and caregivers. Share, learn, lean on, and fortify others who understand the unique rewards and challenges of lung transplantation.

The July support group will provide an excellent opportunity to celebrate successes, ask questions and get advice about any dilemmas you may be facing. It's a time to make new friends and reconnect with old ones.

For more information about the support group, please contact Christopher C. Erickson, MSW, LCSW, clinical social worker, at christopher.erickson@uphs.upenn.edu or 215-662-4575.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Help Those Considering a Lung Transplant: Share Your Story

At Penn, we are committed to helping patients build an effective community of support, that complements the care we give, with different types of practical help throughout the transplant process.

That’s why we offer a special feature on the blog called “Share Your Story.”

While patients and their caregivers receive ongoing clinical and social work support from our team, one additional meaningful source of support patients tell us they’ve received comes from connecting with people who have already been through the lung transplant process.

While this connection often happens at the Lung Transplant Support Group, not everyone can attend the meetings. To help connect our patients who are waiting for lungs to become available with people who had successful lung transplants, we offer a regular feature called “Share Your Story”.

If you are a post-transplant patient or support person who would like to share a few encouraging pointers for those who are waiting and their support people, we’d love to hear from you.

You can email your story to transplant outreach coordinator, Margaret Leid, at margaret.leid@uphs.upenn.edu.

If you have a story to tell but writing isn’t something you love to do, contact Margaret at 215-298-3929, and she can work together with you to capture your story in writing.

We look forward to sharing these stories soon!