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Kidney Transplant - What is acute rejection?

A kidney transplant is a medical procedure to replace the damaged or destroyed kidney (that no longer functions) with a healthy kidney from someone else. The kidney can be from a living person or a deceased donor. 

Kidney Transplant

Gleneagles Global Hospital is the best kidney transplant hospital in India, providing kidney transplant surgery, treatment of chronic kidney disease, and care for all forms of kidney transplants.

Kidneys are two-bean shaped organs located at each side of the spine just below the rib cage. Each kidney is about the size of the fist. Kidney is responsible to filter and remove waste, minerals and fluid from the blood in the form of urine. Getting a kidney transplant is like getting another chance at life.  

Kidney failure is the failure to function properly meaning the ability to lose filtering process and accumulating harmful fluids, waste in your body which can raise high blood pressure and result in kidney failure. End stage kidney occurs when the kidney’s ability to function loses 90% of its ability to function. 

Following are the common causes of kidney failure:

  • Diabetes
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Chronic kidney failure
  • Uncontrolled blood pressure
  • Chronic glomerulonephritis

Why does kidney transplant take place?

Kidney transplant helps in the following ways:

  • Better quality of sleep
  • Lower risk of death
  • Lower treatment cost when compared to dialysis 
  • Few dietary restrictions 

The average kidney cancer treatment cost in India is 2,80,000 INR.  

Complications of kidney transplant:

Kidney transplant does come with certain risks factors namely:

  • Infection
  • Blood clots and bleeding
  • Death, heart attack and stroke
  • Failure or rejection of the donated kidney
  • Leakage or blockage of the tube that links kidney to the bladder

Kidney rejection:

Although kidney transplants are majorly successful, in some cases they are not. It is common for the body to reject the new kidney as soon as it is placed in your body. It is also possible that your new kidney may stop functioning over a period of time. Having a new kidney is a major change in the body. Your immune system is responsible to protect the body from harmful germs and cells might recognize it as a “foreign” kidney and reject it. 

To prevent your body from rejecting the new kidney, your doctor will prescribe you immune-suppressants medicines for the rest of your lives. Immunosuppressant medicines (anti-rejection) are medicines that decrease your immune response so your body is less likely to reject your new kidney. 

The success rate of kidney transplant in India is highest in the world. The current success rate is 90% in India.  

What is acute rejection?

Acute rejection is the rejection of the “new” kidney in the body. It’s a process in which a transplant recipient's immune system attacks the transplanted kidney or tissue. This may occur anytime from the first week after the transplant to 3 months afterwards. At some point, all recipients have some amount of acute rejection. Less than one in twenty transplant patients will experience acute rejection that leads to complete failure of their new kidney. 

While chronic rejection takes place in many years. The body's constant immune response against the new organ slowly damages the transplanted tissues or organ. 

Max Hospital is yet another best kidney transplant hospital in India. 

Causes of acute rejection:

Your body’s immune system has a tendency to protect you from harmful substances namely germs, poisons and cancer cells. These harmful substances have proteins called antigens. As soon as these antigens enter the body, the immune system recognizes that they are from foreigners and attacks them. So, when a person receives a new kidney, the immune system may recognize it as a foreign. The reason is because the immune system detects that the antigens on the cells of the organ are not matched. Mismatched organs can trigger transplant rejection. 

To help prevent this rejection, doctors will try to match both the organ donor and the person receiving it. The more common are the antigens between the donor and the recipient, the less likely for a rejection. 

The kidney cancer treatment cost in India is much lower compared to other western countries in the word. The estimated cost is USD 3000 to USD 4000 which is 60-70% lower than what it costs in the US and the UK.  

Signs and symptoms of kidney rejection:

  • Ankle swelling
  • Fatigue
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Very high blood pressure
  • Urinating less than usual
  • Fever of 101 degree or higher
  • Pain and tenderness at the area where transplant was done
  • Body ache, chills, headache and more 

If you are told by your doctor that the new kidney is not functioning properly, it does not mean complete rejection. To treat this problem, your doctor will change the immune-suppressants medications. This is why it's vital to take the anti-rejection pills as guided by the doctor. 

The overall success rate of kidney transplant in India is very good. Transplants from deceased donors have an 85-90% survival rate in the first year. 


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