Your body’s immune system protects you from infection by recognizing certain foreign bodies, like bacteria and viruses, and destroying them. Unfortunately, the immune system sees your new kidney as a foreign substance also.
Rejection is an attempt by your immune system to attack the transplanted kidney and destroy it. To prevent rejection, you must take anti-rejection medications, as prescribed, for the rest of your kidney’s life.
Rejection episodes are treated by changing the dosages of your anti-rejection medications or adding a new one temporarily. Kidney rejection does not necessarily mean kidney failure. Most episodes of rejection can be reversed with anti-rejection medications, if they are detected early enough. Often times, patients are admitted to treat rejection and intravenous medications are used for treatment.
The clinic or on call doctor must be contacted immediately if the patient observes any of the following signs or symptoms:
- Less urine output than usual
- Persistent fever over 100o
- Pain, tenderness, or swelling over the transplanted kidney
- Dramatic increase of blood pressure
- Dark or tea-colored urine
- General weakness/fatigue
- Weight gain in a 24 hour period
- Swelling of hands or feet
- Elevated blood pressure