Definition - Organ Rejection
Understanding organ rejection
Transplantation remains a challenging area of medicine. Organs need to be kept functioning whilst being quickly transplanted from one person to another and the surgery itself is complex.
The success of transplanted organs is influenced by a number of different factors including the condition of the organ, the tissue match and the health and medical history of the recipient.
After surgery the challenges continue, as all transplanted organs are at risk of being rejected by the recipient’s body.
Around half of kidney transplant patients experience some rejection in the first few weeks after a transplant; this usually shows up as a change in blood results and can be treated effectively. However, one in 20 of these patients may lose their kidney during that time. Most kidneys that fail in the first year do so because of rejection (Source:UK National Kidney Federation).
This rejection is the result of the highly sophisticated human immune system. When an organ is transplanted into the body, it is recognised as “foreign”. The immune system springs into action to attack this foreign item – potentially leading to the failure or rejection of the transplant.