A kidney transplant is a surgical procedure to place a healthy kidney from a live or deceased donor into a person whose kidneys no longer function properly.
A kidney transplant is done to treat kidney failure also known as end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
Complications of a kidney transplant
1. Blood clots
A blood clot may form in the vein or the artery of the new kidney. This means the blood supply to the kidney will stop.
Clots may also form in the deep veins in your legs. These clots are known as deep vein thrombosis, or DVT.
There is a likelihood that you may experience internal bleeding which may require a blood transfusion and possibly a further operation to stop the bleeding or remove any clots that have collected.
3. Blocked ureter
The ureter (the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder) can become blocked after a kidney transplant.
It can be blocked soon after the transplant – by blood clots, for example. It can also be blocked months or years later, usually due to scar tissue.
The anti-rejection medicines you need to take for the health of your new kidney lower your body’s ability to fight infection.
You are at the greatest risk for infection the first two to three months after surgery or after any rejection episode. This is when the anti-rejection medicines are at their strongest doses.
5. Rejection of the donated kidney
One risk of a kidney transplant is that your body will reject the new kidney. This can happen if your body’s immune system realizes that the kidney is from someone else.
To prevent this from happening, your doctor will give you medicines to weaken your immune system. These medicines are called immunosuppressants, or anti-rejection medicines.
Even with the use of immunosuppressants, your body can at times still recognize your new kidney as a foreign object and attempt to protect you by attacking and damaging it.
Rejection occurs most often in the first six months after the transplant. The chance of rejecting your new kidney decreases with time, but rejection can occur at any time after a transplant.
6. Failure of the donated kidney
It is possible that your body may refuse to accept the donated kidney shortly after it is placed in your body even after taking immunosuppresnats.
Over time, your new kidney may stop working because your immune system will constantly fight it.
As with any major surgery there is always a risk of death due to the procedure or anesthesia that is given during the procedure.
The main causes of death in transplant patients include infections, stroke and heart attack.
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