Kidney transplant is like any other surgery and involves major risk factors like blood clotting, bleeding, infection, failure of the donated kidney, and rejection of the donated kidney. However, there are other complications to look out for post kidney transplant, which should be reported to the transplant team. These are critical complications that need immediate medical attention. These are:
- High Blood Pressure
- Acute Tubular Necrosis (ATN)
- Diabetes Mellitus
Since the entire kidney transplant patients are on immuno-suppressants, to lower down body’s immunity against the “new” kidney, chances of infections in these patients are pretty high. The chances of developing both viral and bacterial infections stand very high.
- Cytomegalovirus (CMV): the chances of developing CMV infection are very high in the initial few months of transplantation. It is the one of the most common infections in transplant patients. Aching joints, high fever, headaches and , and pneumonia should not be dismissed casually and the patient should be taken to the hospital.
- Herpes Simplex Virus Type I and II: They cause cold sores and blisters around the mouth and genital sores. So far, no cure as such is available but there are treatment options available.
- Herpes Zoster (Shingles): Shingles or small water blisters, usually appear on the chest, back, or hip and are usually painful.
- Wound Infections: These appear on the surgical site and attention should be paid to any redness, swelling, tenderness at the surgical site, transplant team should be notified.
High Blood Pressure
Though quite common in transplant patients, it needs a proper treatment plan to avoid complications like stroke and heart diseases. Hypertension in kidney transplant symptoms usually doesn’t produce any symptoms; few complain of headaches or blurred vision. It is usually caused due to fluid overload, rejection and narrowing of the renal transplant artery.
This happens when the patents’ immune system rejects the newly transplanted kidney as “foreign: and tries to destroy it think of it as invader; the reason why transplant patients are always on immuno suppressants.
There are many types of rejection:
- Hyperacute rejection –represents immediate destruction of the transplanted kidney; doesn’t happen quite often because of initial cross match testing used before transplant.
- Acute Rejection – This may happen in the next following months of transplant,
- Chronic Rejection – This may happen months or years after the transplant and takes place when the body has developed resistance to treatment with current medications. This will cause your new organ to slowly stop working.
Diabetes is an increased level of sugar in the blood. Some of the immunosuppressive medications may cause diabetes as an adverse effect. Post-transplant diabetes is usually treated by decreasing the dose of anti-rejection medicines or changing them to other similar set of medicines.