Life After Your Transplant: Signs of Rejection

If you're living with a transplant, "rejection" is a word that can send shivers up your spine. But organ rejection is often not as bad as it sounds. As scary as the word may be, it doesn't mean necessarily that you're going to lose the organ. It often means your medication needs to be adjusted. Once you've established a new medication regimen that works, you can usually go back to business as usual.

But that doesn't mean you can ignore the problem. Be on the lookout for the signs of rejection. Symptoms vary depending on the kind of organ transplant you've had. General signs include:

  • Pain at the site of the transplant
  • Feeling unwell
  • Crankiness (in children)
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Fever
  • Weight changes
  • Swelling
  • Change in heart rate
  • Urinating less often

See your health care provider right away if you have any of these symptoms.

Organ rejection can be acute or chronic. It's fairly common to have an episode of acute rejection within a year of your transplant. Sometimes, acute rejection leads to chronic rejection. This is when an organ slowly loses its ability to function.

Rejection becomes less likely over time. But you're never quite out of the woods. It may develop even years after the surgery. That's why it's key to keep on top of your condition and get regular checkups.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on February 13, 2017

Sources

SOURCES: 

National Kidney Foundation. 

United Network for Organ Sharing. 

United Network for Organ Sharing's "Transplant Living" web site. 

Health Resources and Services Administration: "Partnering with Your Transplant Team: The Patient's Guide to Transplantation."

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