When your surgery has been completed, you will be taken to the Recovery
Room or Intensive Care Unit, where you will be closely monitored for
several hours. When your team feels you are ready, you will be moved to
the transplant unit.
The First Few Days
While you are recovering, you will be closely monitored to be sure that
you and your new kidney are doing well.
You will be connected to a cardiac monitor for approximately 48
hours or until you are in stable condition.
A catheter placed in your bladder during surgery will provide
continuous drainage of urine from the bladder. The urine will
travel through a tube to the outside, and then be collected in a
bag. This enables accurate measurement of urine output. This
continuous drainage of urine will help the bladder to heal. The
urine may appear bloody for a few days. This is not uncommon.
The catheter will remain in place usually for four days after
Your heart and fluids will be monitored through an intravenous
catheter placed near your collar bone.
You will be asked to cough and take deep breaths every hour
after the operation. This helps to mobilize the mucus which may
have accumulated in your lungs during the operation. If this
mucus is not cleared from your lungs, it can be an excellent
place for bacteria to grow. This could result in
In a couple of days you will be walking around the Transplant Unit as
much as you can tolerate. This will help your lungs and body get back
Monitoring Your New Kidney
Your new kidney may be sluggish, and may not work well right away. If
this is the case, you may need dialysis temporarily to help you feel
well. In most cases the kidney will begin to work within two weeks.
Your doctors may evaluate the function of the transplant kidney with a
nuclear scan or a renal ultrasound. These tests may be done frequently
during your hospital stay to help your doctor identify any collection or
blockage so it can be treated immediately.
If all is going well, you may be discharged from the hospital in about
4-7 days. (Your discharge may occur sooner or later, depending on your
condition). Your transplant coordinator will help you prepare for you’re
return home and provide you with information to help you through your
recovery at home.
Because rejection and other problems usually occur in the first few
months, your team will want to continue monitoring your progress and
condition very closely. So, you can expect to return frequently to the
Transplant Clinic. As your condition stabilizes, visits to the clinic
will become less frequent.
Medical problems of any nature must be called into the Transplant
Office. A transplant nurse and physician are “on-call” 24 hours a day.
When you start feeling more like yourself, you can begin enjoying the
social and professional activities that were not possible while your
were on dialysis.
The human body protects itself against germs through the immune system.
This system also fights against cells or tissues that your body does not
recognize as yours. This includes the tissue of your “new” kidney.
To keep your body from rejecting (attacking) your new kidney, you will
need to take drugs called immunosuppressants. You must take these drugs
every day, as long as your new kidney is working. If you do not take
these drugs you will lose the kidney. Immunosuppressants increase your
risk of contracting infections or getting some forms of cancer.
Many immunosuppressants have side effects. However, every patient is
different. Many experience no side effects at all, others experience a
few or several. Immunosuppressants you may be taking, and their possible
side effects can be found in the Kidney
Transplant Medication Chart.
For more information, call 1.866.CALL.MLH.