After Your Kidney Transplant
Although the hospitalization is short
following kidney transplantation, our physicians and staff will continue
to monitor our recent transplant recipients very closely in the clinic.
Patients enjoy the comfort of home as they recover, yet still receive
the medical attention they need at our clinic.
Clinic visits are scheduled weekly or
twice-weekly during the early period after transplant, and the time
between visits will be increased according to the patient's needs.
Patients from outside the Greater Houston area should plan to stay in
Houston for 2 to 4 weeks after transplant to ensure that this close
follow-up is possible.
Life After Kidney Transplant
The goal of kidney transplantation is to
return patients to a full, satisfying quality of life since they are off
dialysis and no longer have strict dietary and travel restrictions.
Many patients go back to school, work, and activities they enjoyed prior
to having kidney failure. Patients can enjoy drinking as much water as
they want and not worry about potassium and phosphorous in their food.
They are able to exercise and participate in sports, though contact
sports are not recommended because the transplant could get injured.
Pregnancy and Childbirth
Women and men are able to have children, but it is recommended that
women inform the Transplant Center months prior to trying to conceive
that they want to have a baby. The Transplant Center will inform the
woman if she is healthy enough to carry the baby safely. Some of the
immunosuppressive medications will have to be adjusted because they
could hurt the baby.
Many people find that they easily gain weight after transplant. This is
partially because of the immunosuppression drug regimen and also
because patients feel better and therefore, have a better appetite.
Additionally, food also tastes better for patients because their blood
is being cleaned far better than it ever was on dialysis and their
senses function more appropriately. Since it is very easy to gain weight
after transplant, the Transplant Center has a dietician that councils
the patients on proper diet and exercise and encourages a healthy active
lifestyle that involves no tobacco, illegal drug, or excessive alcohol
use. This should help extend the life of the kidney and the patient.
Transplantation can sometimes seem overwhelming for patients. The Transplant Center offers a transplant support group that is run by our transplant social workers. The support group meets monthly and
encompasses patients who are both waiting for a transplant and those who
have already received a transplant. Every other month, a guest speaker
is invited to talk about a topic of interest to the group.
In between, the support group functions in a more traditional way where
patients share their experiences, provide insightful help and
recommendations, ask questions, and form relationships with other
patients going through similar issues. Adult family members, friends,
and caregivers are welcome and encouraged to come with the patient.