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Organ Transplant

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After the Transplant

Why does organ rejection happen?

Your immune system protects you from infection and disease. It defends your body by producing antibodies and "killer" cells that destroy foreign substances (such as viruses and bacteria). Since the donor organ doesn't match your own tissue exactly, your body tries to destroy the transplanted organ by rejecting it.

How can you prevent organ rejection?

Because your immune system will try to destroy the new organ, you will need to take antirejection medicines, or immunosuppressants, for as long as you have the donor organ.

These medicines weaken your immune system and decrease your body's ability to fight infections, cancer, and other diseases. You will have to stay away from large crowds for a while and from people who have infections.

It may help to talk to someone who has had a transplant. This person can talk to you about how you can make taking antirejection medicines part of your daily life. You will probably need fewer of these medicines over time. You may also need other medicines to fight infection or other health problems related to your transplant.

How will you feel after the transplant?

Almost immediately after a transplant, many people report feeling better than they have in years. The physical limitations you have will depend on the type of transplant you had, other conditions you may have, and whether your body rejects the donor organ. You will likely not face major physical limitations after you have healed from your transplant.

You may also have side effects from your antirejection medicines, and you may be at increased risk for getting conditions such as diabetes.

An organ transplant may cause many emotional issues both for you and those who care about you. When your organ comes from a deceased donor, you may sometimes think about that and what that meant to the donor's family.

It is common to have some depression after an organ transplant, although not everyone does. If you think you may be depressed, it is important to tell your transplant coordinator, doctor, or someone who cares about you. The earlier depression is treated, the more quickly you will recover and the better you will feel.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 03, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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