The two current treatment options for a failed kidney are dialyses and kidney transplantation. A successful transplant can offer patients a more comfortable and convenient life than those who require dialyses, but only a limited number of people are fit for a transplant. Many people are limited due to age or health status, and even for those who qualify complications can occur. One of the most common problems associated with a kidney transplant is rejection. In almost all cases the recipient of the organ must take rejection medication for the rest of his/her life to prevent the body from rejecting the new organ. There are three types of kidney transplant rejection, and each type carries its own signs and symptoms.
Hyperacute Rejection- This type of antibody mediated rejection typically occurs hours to days after the transplant has taken place, but can be delayed for several weeks in some rare cases. Signs of this type of rejection include pain at the site of the kidney, elevated blood pressure and a high fever. While early and less severe cases can sometimes be salvaged by an increased dosage of medication, in most cases the organ must be removed.
Acute Rejection- This type of rejection occurs during the first two years of the transplant, usually within the first six months. Symptoms associated with acute rejection are swelling of the hands and/or feet, a fever over 100 degrees, excessive tiredness, high blood pressure, fluid retention, and a possible decrease in urination. The new kidney may feel sore, inflamed, or enlarged. This problem is usually treated with an increase in anti-rejection drugs, and does not usually require the removal of the organ.
Chronic Rejection- Occurring over several years, this involves the body’s constant immune response against the new organ. This response slowly causes tissue damage in the new kidney. Signs of chronic rejection include swelling of feet and/or hands, weight gain due to fluid retention, and fatigue. Treating this type of rejection usually involves diet and fluid intake modifications. In some cases the donor kidney can fail and dialyses is required.
A kidney transplant can take an extremely taxing toll on the body. Even with proper care, rejections can occur. It is important to weigh the potential costs and benefits before deciding to opt for a transplant, and if a transplant is required to look for symptoms of rejection.
Disclaimer: This article was not written by a medical professional or healthcare provider. The information provided was gathered through research and is meant for educational purposes only. It is always best to consult with a physician if you feel like you may be experiencing symptoms of kidney rejection, even if those symptoms are not listed in this article.