Transplant Rejection

Transplant rejection occurs when a transplant recipient's immune system attacks the transplanted organ or tissue.

Your body's immune system works to protect you from foreign substances that may be harmful, such as germs, poisons and cancer cells. If you receive an organ transplant from someone else, your immune system may recognize that it is different, containing cells that are not identically “matched” to yours. The automatic reaction of your immune system in this case would be to attach this foreign body.

To help prevent this reaction, great care is taken to match the organ donor and the recipient as closely as possible. The better the match, the less likely that the organ will be rejected.

Transplant rejection can occur immediately after the procedure, within a few weeks or months, or over a long period of time. If rejection begins, medicines that suppress the immune system may stop the rejection. Most people need to take these medicines for the rest of their life.

Symptoms of transplant rejection depend on the specific organ or tissue that was transplanted. General discomfort and flu-like symptoms are common. Additionally, decreased function of the transplanted organ may occur.


Single episodes of rejection rarely lead to organ failure, but if total rejection occurs, the transplanted organ may need to be removed and the patient will need another transplant.

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Treatments for Transplant Rejection

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Symptoms and Screenings for Transplant Rejection

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Causes and Preventions for Transplant Rejection

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Education and Resources for Transplant Rejection

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Support groups for Transplant Rejection

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