Life after a Kidney Transplant
This article will help one understand better the challenges that lie ahead for chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients who has recently had or is planning to undergo a kidney transplant and help them to overcome the fear and plan better. Post-transplant care is as important, if not more than the transplant itself.
We at Aakash Healthcare, Dwarka, have on board our best kidney transplant team, comprising of experienced and expert nephrologists and transplant surgeons in their respective field, in Delhi, and work diligently towards giving the best results and experience to each of our patients undergoing kidney transplant.
Everyone has a right to a regular routine in life, so do our transplant patients. The key being, moderation and respecting physiologic limits. Immediately post-transplant, the energy levels are bound to be low. The body needs time to heal after so much of invasion and medication. Be patient. Listen to your body and give it time. Just plan the activities in such a way that they help and not hamper healing. Do not let your recovery be strained.
We’ve listed a few things you’ll be concerned with after your kidney transplant and how you can make arrangements to address these concerns with ease.
Precautions and advise at discharge
At the time of discharge your nephrologist and transplant surgeon will counsel the patient, donor and the family regarding the strict compliance of medications and regular follow up.
For a successful kidney transplant outcome is the most important thing is disciplined lifestyle and stent removal after 2 weeks of discharge
Do not miss medications
Get regular investigations
To get drug levels of (immunosuppressant) medications as suggested
Eat healthy and stay away from dirty environment
Monitor sugar, blood pressure and urine output at home
If at all any problem like fall in blood pressure, fever, cough, breathing difficulty or pain please contact your doctor at the earliest
Know your new kidney
After transplant in the initial period chances of rejection is maximum almost 4-6 % of patients suffer from rejection, which is treatable with medications.
In the first month after renal transplant blood investigations are done twice a week. After that if everything is on course the frequency of tests goes down.
If at all one has any symptoms of pain in kidney area, fever or blood in urine and decrease in urine output, one must report immediately to his nephrologist
Generic drugs are mostly fine, but please check with your transplant team in case the pharmacy wants to give you substitutions. Many medications interact with your immunosuppressants; and for this reason, you should always consult your transplant team before taking any new medications, or altering the dosage of prescription medicine.
Exercise has to become an integral part of your life; this will enable a faster return to your daily activities and help you maintain this improved health.
Regular exercise will help control cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and weight. Exercise eases out the tension within and boosts energy, encourages positive attitude in other important lifestyle habits.
Exercise also improves muscle tone, as well as heart and lung function, reduces stress, and boosts confidence when you achieve and maintain ideal body weight.
After you return home, we recommend you exercise daily, with walking 15-20 minutes per day, and gradually increasing the time.
Do not get to strenuous exercise or lifting weights until you’ve got the clearance from the transplant team.
You should get back to school or work within two months from surgery. The transplant team will help decide what is best for you. You may wish to discuss what careers will be suitable for you at school counselling with the advice of doctors.
You won’t be able to drive for about two to four weeks after the transplant. Speak with your doctors before getting behind the wheel for the first time after transplant. The initial doses of medications may cause tremors, weakness, and blurred vision and these side effects, which are worse in the first months, will make handling a car rather difficult.
Travel for the first two to three months after your transplant is not recommended and travel abroad is not recommended for the first six to 12 months.
If it’s unavoidable, consult your physician regarding vaccinations and the other precautions you will need to take.
Immunisations and Vaccinations
After a transplant, vaccine shots are recommended after 1 year. If additional inoculations are needed, you should only and only receive "dead virus" vaccinations. You should not receive "live virus" vaccines, like varicella or MMR, because of the risk of transmission.
After kidney transplant one has improvement in sexual relations. Post-transplant men have fathered children and women patients have successful pregnancies and bear healthy children. It is advisable to plan pregnancy after one year of transplantation under strict care of nephrologist as we need to change some medications and requires strict supervision during the course of pregnancy.
There are some other complications which may occur after transplant, though rarely; such as infections, drug side effects, rejection of graft/ kidney. To minimise the risk of complications and better life and long-term kidney survival, it is advisable to stay in touch with nephrologist life long after transplant, and follow instructions religiously. Do not delay in contacting your doctor, if one finds any new symptom or problem.
Dr. Vikram Kalra,
Nephrology, Urology & Kidney Transplant