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    Maintaining a Healthy Kidney Transplant

    immunosuppressive medicationsUsually, patients find that it takes about three months to adjust to a kidney transplant and new medications. Your energy level will start to build and you will notice the impact of having a healthy, functioning organ.

    Anti-Rejection Medications

    While transplantation can offer a better quality of life, you must take an active role in your care to ensure your kidney remains healthy. You must remember to take your medications and have lab work done as prescribed, and come to all clinic visits. The following is an overview of what you can expect post-transplant.

    The immunosuppressive medications needed to maintain a healthy transplant are a critical part of life post-transplant, but carry with them some side effects. You will leave the hospital with a 30-day supply of medications provided by an insurance-approved retail pharmacy. After those 30 days, you are responsible for refilling all medications, either through a retail or mail-order pharmacy.

    Patients typically leave the hospital taking 12 types of pills. Depending on your insurance coverage, you will be required to cover your share of cost or co-pay prior to discharge from the hospital. Medications are continuously monitored and adjusted, however, so after the first year, patients typically take between three to six kinds of pills.

    Kidney Post-Transplant Lab Tests

    After transplant, regular lab tests help show the transplanted kidney’s function. Patients need to have their blood drawn twice a week, with the results sent to California Pacific for evaluation. At clinic visits, the team will review the results with the patient and make adjustments to medications if necessary. The frequency of lab tests will gradually decrease following transplant and ultimately, patients will have labs done once a month.

    The first clinic visit following transplant will be at California Pacific in San Francisco. If the physicians feel the patient is stable, subsequent clinic visits can be scheduled at an outreach site.

    Time After TransplantFrequency of Lab Tests
    0-6 weeks2 times a week
    6 weeks to 3-4 months1 time a week
    3-4 months to 6-8 monthsEvery other week
    6-8 months to 1-2 years1 time a month
    after 1-2 yearsEvery 1-3 months

    About California Pacific Medical Center

    California Pacific Medical Center, part of the Sutter Health network, offers kidney, pancreas, liver and heart transplantation as part of our Barry S. Levin, MD Department of Transplant.

    Kidney & Pancreas Transplant Program
    California Pacific Medical Center
    2340 Clay Street
    San Francisco, CA 94115
    Tel. 415-600-1700

    Outreach locations available throughout Northern California and in Reno.