What is Organ Transplant Rejection?
Organ transplantation is when an organ in the body gets damaged and is replaced with a healthy organ from a donor. Transplant organs and tissues include the liver, heart, kidney, bone marrow, and pancreas. However, recipients might experience organ transplant rejection when their immune system attacks the new tissue.
This rejection is due to the antigens on the transplanted organ that differ from the ones in the recipient’s body. There are three types of transplant rejection:
- Hyperacute Rejection ⏤ It occurs minutes to hours after surgery. Doctors must remove the new organ immediately.
- Acute Rejection ⏤ It may occur from one week to three months after the surgery. It is treatable with organ transplant medications.
- Chronic Rejection ⏤ It occurs months to years after the surgery due to scarring of the transplanted organ.
Symptoms of Organ Transplant Rejection
Most recipients experience organ rejection at least once after their surgery. The most common symptoms of this rejection include:
- Body pain
- Blood in urine
- Lower urine output
- Higher blood pressure
- Sudden weight fluctuations
- Higher blood creatinine levels
- Swelling in the hands and feet
- Swelling and pus near the incision
- Pain and tenderness over the transplant area
The symptoms may not always be recognizable to you. That is why you should get regular checkups after the procedure to ensure your body is not rejecting the new organ.
Treatments for Organ Transplant Rejection
With early detection, you can usually reverse the rejection and save the organ. Recipients can benefit from immunosuppressive organ transplant medications. These anti-rejection medications are given in two phases to weaken the body’s immune system.
The initial induction phase administers a high dose, while the maintenance phase administers a lower dosage for the long term. The dosages and combinations of medications may vary based on the transplanted organ and the type of rejection.
Recipients must take these medications daily to avoid losing the new organ. However, these drugs have a downside as they suppress the overall immune function. This suppression does not occur with IVIG therapy.
Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) is a treatment for organ transplant rejection. Immune globulin injections extracted from blood plasma will lower the recipient’s HLA sensitivity by adding antibodies to the bloodstream.
HLA antibodies are the markers your body uses to detect foreign tissues. With a lower sensitivity to these markers, you can avoid transplant rejection without compromising your immune function.
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Our full-service coordination for those suffering from organ transplant rejection also includes copay assistance and insurance approvals to reduce the cost of your treatments. Our licensed pharmacists are available 24/7 to answer all your questions. Contact us now to begin treatment and receive the best at-home care possible.