The prognosis for recipients of a liver transplant has been vastly improved by the advent of cyclosporine therapy, and the future holds even more promise with improvements in drug therapy and surgical techniques. The transition from experimental procedure to accepted clinical practice requires nursing to develop standards of care to promote quality care in transplant nursing. With postoperative infection identified as a major cause of mortality for this patient group, nurses will be expected to be skillful in assessing and monitoring for signs and symptoms of infection. Nurses will also need to understand what is involved in the clinical diagnosis of infection, the role of immunosuppressive drug therapy, and the laboratory findings that predispose or herald infection. Infection control standards and methods to manage the risk of infection are appropriate areas of research for critical care nursing and hold the potential for improved patient outcomes for this vulnerable group of transplant patients.

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