Taking Care of a New Kidney

A successful kidney transplant means your life has changed. You will not need dialysis as long as the kidney transplant is functioning properly. This makes it possible to have a more flexible diet and schedule. But it’s not the end of your responsibilities. A new kidney needs proper care to keep working as long as possible.


Here are some ways to help to take of your new kidney:

 

  1. Take your anti-rejection (immunosuppressant) medications every day, or as directed. Missing even one dose may harm your new kidney. Missing many doses may cause your body to attack the new kidney and stop it from working.
  2. Manage other chronic health conditions.  Conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure can cause your transplanted kidney to decline and fail. Take your prescribed medications and work with your doctor to keep these and other conditions under control.
  3. Follow your prescribed diet. While your diet may become less restrictive after a transplant, it’s still important to eat a sensible, kidney-friendly diet. Work with your dietitian and nephrologist to determine what’s best for you.
  4. Go to your appointments. Initially your transplant doctor and nephrologists will require many follow-up visits and tests for a couple of months after the transplant. They want to make sure your new kidney is healthy, so it’s important to attend all appointments.

Kidney transplant surgery is usually successful.  More than 95 percent of all transplanted kidneys are working at the end of their first six months after transplant and most last many years. In fact, kidney transplant survival continues to improve significantly.1 However, it’s possible that a surgery can fail or a new kidney does not work properly. Speak with your doctor about the possible outcomes of a kidney transplant surgery and how to prepare for each one.  

When you get a kidney transplant, treat your new kidney well to help keep it going as long as possible.

 

1Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR)/Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) 2017 Annual Data Report: Kidney AR Hart et al.

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