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Living with a transplanted organ takes dedication. Your care partner plays an important role in your success. A care partner is a family member or friend who will support you in the process of gaining strength and living healthfully after your transplant. During your hospitalization, we recommend your care partner be with you during daytime hours so that you both can receive the necessary information about your continued care.
After surgery, you will be is transferred to the surgical intermediate or intensive care unit. Gradually, you and your care partner will practice administering necessary medications under the close supervision of the transplant pharmacist, nephrologist, endocrinologist and surgeon. This prepares you to handle taking your medications properly at home.
The usual hospital stay is 4-5 days for a kidney transplant and 7 days for a combined kidney-pancreas transplant, but you could stay shorter or longer depending on how healthy you were before surgery, and how well your body is responding to the transplanted organ(s).
Before being discharged, the transplant team will help you understand what you will need to do after transplantation. You will receive information on:
We encourage you to get up and out of bed as soon as you can. Most transplant recipients can return to a normal or near-normal existence and participate in fairly vigorous physical exercise six to 12 months after successful surgery.
Following your transplant surgery you will need to take immunosuppressive medications to help prevent and help treat rejection for life. These drugs decrease your body's resistance to your new kidney and/or pancreas, but may impair your ability to fight off infections. You will need to take medication to help prevent infections. You should also avoid contact with people with any infection that is contagious, especially during the first three to six months after your transplant.
The recovery process can be enhanced by a proper diet. For transplant patients, a diet low in fat, sugar and salt will help control weight and blood sugar, limit fluid retention and control blood pressure. Our nutritional counseling program can help in developing a healthy food plan to meet your needs. For more information about nutritional counseling, please call 619-574-8612.
The national statistics show that at one year after transplantation over 95 percent of kidney transplants and 85 percent of pancreas transplants are functioning. The results at the Center for Transplantation have consistently exceeded the national average, with transplant survival at 90 percent and patient survival near 100 percent. Kidneys from living donors last on average 14 years. Kidneys from deceased donors last on average 10 years. Pancreas transplants last an average of 8 to 10 years. Patients with certain disease such as lupus or focal sclerosing glomerulosclerosis may be at risk of having that disease return in the new kidney. Patients with uncontrolled diabetes after transplant also run that risk. Patients with type 1 diabetes and a pancreas transplant can develop type 2 diabetes and require insulin injections even if they have a functioning transplant if they gain excessive weight after transplant.
Patients with transplants are more likely to die from cardiac disease, neurologic disease, or malignancy unrelated to transplant than from the transplant itself. Taking care of yourself, including following recommendations on medications, diet and exercise after transplantation is the best way to live a long and healthy life for both you and your new organ.
UC San Diego Health System will continue to monitor you through the Long Term Kidney Transplant Clinic on an ongoing basis. The goal of the program is to increase both quality of life and life expectancy after a kidney or kidney-pancreas transplant and to provide the latest advancements in academic medicine to our community.
During weekly clinics, we offer personalized follow-up care, education, medication counseling and adjustment, and tests such as biopsies if indicated. We are on the lookout to diagnose and treat transplant-related complications, including infection, diabetes and malignancies.
Organ transplantation is a complicated procedure. More than that, the underlying kidney disease or organ failure, and the care involved after transplantation is physically, emotionally, financially and every other way - challenging. The Center for Transplantation at UC San Diego Health System is acutely aware of this, and of the kinds of support that make transplantation successful. More and more people are long-term survivors following kidney, pancreas and kidney-pancreas transplantation.
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