Health Blogs

Complications in Kidney Transplant

Kidney Transplant is a specialised procedure that includes the transplantation of a healthy kidney from a donor into a diseased person suffering from chronic kidney failure. The diseased kidney is not removed and hence the recipient ends up having 3 kidneys . Kidney Transplant is a major surgical procedure involving 2 surgeries at the same time. As with all the surgeries, even the best of surgical experts, there always is probability of certain risks and complications. The complications of Kidney transplant can be divided as:

  1. Related to transplanted kidney
  2. Related to the procedure
  3. Related to the medications


These complications can be either early or late. The complications can arise as early as the kidney is attached to the patient and as late as the kidney lasts. These may occur even after a number of years post transplant

Kidney Transplant Complications

The Early Complications of Transplant Include:

  1. Rejection: This is the most common and possibly the most commonly known complication to the general public. Rejection of the new kidney can happen any time. From the time it is attached to till it lasts. The immune system of the patient tries to attack and fight the new kidney (because it does not belong to his body) and hence medications are given to suppress the immunity. No medications so far have been 100% effective in bringing the rejection rates to zero. A critical balance between immunity and acceptance to the new kidney has to be maintained because over suppressing the immunity leads to infections and under suppression of immunity leads to rejection.
  2. Infections: Most common are the Urinary Tract Infections (UTI), in addition to the other routine bacterial/viral infections. The infections specific to transplant include CMV infection (a viral infection which leads to reduced blood counts and damages the new kidney), BK Virus infections (affects the Kidney) and other atypical infections – Pneumocystis, Nocardia etc.
  3. Thrombosis or Narrowing of Artery/Vein of New Kidney: It is uncommon complication but happens. The blood supply to the new kidney is reduced and leads to kidney dysfunction.
  4. Urine Leakage: It is a very rare complication, but if happens is very dreaded. Here the urine starts leaking from the joint between the ureter and urinary bladder. This is difficult to manage.

The long term or late complications: Most of the long term complications apart from rejection are because of immunosuppressive drugs. These include onset or worsening of Diabetes, Hypertension, Weight gain, Osteoporosis, Cataract, Easy bruising and certain cancers.