Life after Renal Transplant

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In hospital

After transplant the recipient will have to stay in hospital for about 5-7 days. Immediately after surgery the patient will be in ICU for close monitoring for 2-3 days. The new kidney usually starts making urine immediately after surgery. 

Post-discharge monitoring will be as per a schedule prepared for each patient.

Resuming life after transplant

Quality of life :

most patients are able to lead a comfortable and healthy life. After transplant they return to work and enjoy an excellent quality of life. 

Taking medications as prescribed :

 Patients will be prescribed immune-suppressants which have to be taken regularly, lifelong. Dose modification should only be done with the doctors’ advice. 

Stop smoking :

 Those who continue to smoke after a transplant have twice the chance of the kidneys failing again. Already on immune-suppressants, smokers have a higher chance of infections 

Avoidance of alcohol and drugs : 

Excessive drinking has an adverse effect in those who have undergone a transplant. In addition the high calorie content of alcohol leads to weight gain, which has a negative effect. Recreational drugs can cause persistent high blood pressure and interact with immunosuppressant

Work/ sports :

Most people can return to their normal daily activities, 2-3 months after surgery. Playing sports and getting healthy exercise is possible after 3 months although it is advisable to avoid contact sports such as boxing, karate, rock climbing etc. for 6 months. It may take longer for patients who are very sick before the transplant. Initial family support is very crucial to lead an active and productive life in the long term.

Driving/ travelling :

Most patients resume driving in about 2 months after a transplant. It is recommended that patients should not drive themselves after taking pain medications as they may contain narcotics. If the seat belt rubs against the wound, one can place a towel between the abdomen and the seat belt. Most patients can undertake occasional train/ plane travel in 2 – 3 months. The trip should be discussed with the transplant team to make sure that the patient carries enough supply of medications and is put in touch with a doctor locally who can take care of urgent problems.

Sexual activity/ pregnancy/ breast-feeding : 

There are no restrictions on sexual activity and these may be resumed when one feels comfortable. Donors can resume sexual activity in a month, and recipients in 2-3 months, when the abdomen wound completely heals.  Women planning a pregnancy should consult a nephrologist. 

Dental care:

The patient should see the dentist every 6 months and the dentist should be told about the transplant, as antibiotics will be prescribed before any dental procedure to prevent any infection, as transplant patient’s are highly susceptible to infections.  

Dietary changes :

 Patients should consume plenty of vegetables and fruits after a transplant. Starchy food like potatoes, bread, rice, pasta etc, can be included in the diet . Milk, meat, fish, egg, beans are to be added. Low salt and moderate use of sugars and fat is advised. The dietician will help prepare a meal plan to suit one’s taste 

Weight loss and exercise :

 Once the team gives clearance for resuming activity, one can increase the exercise regimen gradually to a maximum of 150 minutes per week. Jogging, swimming, fast walking or treadmill are some of the activities suggested. After transplant one should maintain the weight within the acceptable limit.

Avoidance of infection :

 Those on immune-suppressants are prone to infections as they are immunocompromised. Avoiding contact with those with communicable diseases is a must. Good personal hygiene should be inculcated.