Managing and avoiding complications

Rejection

Rejection of your transplanted kidney can occur at any time following your surgery. Episodes of rejection most commonly occur during the first few months after transplant. Try not to become too alarmed if you are told that you are experiencing rejection. Episodes of rejection are expected, and other than taking your immunosuppressant medications correctly and following doctor’s orders, there is nothing you can do to prevent episodes of rejection.

Rejection can be reversed if it is detected early. For this reason, it is important for you to be able to recognize signs and symptoms of rejection. They are:

  • Fever greater than 100.5 F
  • Decreased urine output
  • Weight gain or swollen feet and ankles
  • Pain, swelling, and tenderness around the kidney
  • General flu-like symptoms

Rejection may occur without any symptoms that you can detect. The most common sign of rejection is a rising creatinine level. This can only be detected through blood work. It is imperative that you get your lab work done as scheduled.

Treatment of rejection usually consists of three to five daily doses of intravenous Methylprednisolone®, a form of prednisone. You will usually be admitted to the hospital for this treatment. If this doesn't turn the rejection around, we have other medications to use.

Your transplant team will determine the best course of action and give you specific instructions. We encourage you to ask questions about rejection, your symptoms or treatment. We are a team and we have to work together.