Preventing Organ Rejection

Although your medication will work to prevent rejection, it can still occur, even years after transplant surgery. This is why it is important to have common sense about your day-to-day health and stay in tune with your body.

Rejection can occur without producing any signs or symptoms and may only be found during a follow-up visit. Therefore, it is important that you remember to keep all of your scheduled appointments.

What is organ rejection?

Rejection happens when the body attacks a transplanted organ or tissue.

All cells in your body have proteins called antigens on their surfaces. Your new organ is likely to have antigens that are foreign to your body. This means that, unless your immune system is controlled by anti-rejection medication, it is likely to recognise the foreign antigens on your transplant and attack it.

While rejection may happen at any time post-transplant, it is most common in the first 3 months after transplantation. Several rejection events could lead to chronic rejection.

Chronic rejection occurs when the body slowly (within months to years) and continually attacks the transplanted organ, reducing its ability to work at its best. This is possibly the result of continued, multiple attacks from your immune cells as described above. Chronic rejection cannot be treated, the only possibility is another transplant. This means returning to the waiting list.

How to prevent rejection

The most important way to stop your transplant being rejected is to take your anti-rejection medications on time, every day.

Here are some tips on how to manage your medication.

Here are some things to look out for to prevent organ rejection.

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Date of preparation, March 2011. Reference code 4378.