What is Graft Rejection?

Every human body has immune system that takes care of the job of protecting the body from potentially harmful foreign substances. The foreign substances have proteins embedded on their surface which are called antigens. The moment the body recognizes these antigens and it rejects and nullifies these foreign bodies.

However, this otherwise indispensable mechanism of natural defence proves to be a big disadvantage when organs are transformed and grafted into an individual. The natural defence mechanism of the body reacts virulently and causes allergic reactions leading to graft rejection or transplant rejection.

Normally immunosupressants are administered to tackle the problem of graft rejection.

Symptoms of Graft Rejection

Graft rejection manifests itself through various symptoms. The following are the generally observed reactions:

  • Malfunctioning of the transplanted organ
  • Discomfort, uneasiness and ill feeling
  • Rare instances of swelling and pain in the organ
  • Fever in rare cases

Exams and Tests for Detection Graft Rejection of Symptoms

First doctor feels the organ by carrying out a thorough physical examination. Often some perceptible signs are noticed related to organ malfunction. They include the following:

  • Less urine output with kidney transplants
  • Shortness of breath and less tolerance to exertion with heart transplants
  • Yellow skin color and easy bleeding with liver transplants

To rule out the above complications generally the doctor performs a routine biopsy and to take necessary timely precaution if the symptoms are starting to manifest themselves.
However, the doctor generally prefers other less risky diagnostic procedures before going for biopsy. Biopsy is often carried out only when it is so required. The methods include the following:

  • Abdominal CT scan
  • Chest x-ray
  • Heart echocardiography
  • Kidney arteriography
  • Kidney ultrasound
  • Lab tests of kidney or liver function

Prognosis for Organ Transplant

The prognosis depends on the sort of organ that is transplanted. Some organs are more compatible and others are less compatible. In case of complications immunosuppressants are generally prescribed. But immunosuppressants are not always helpful.

Possible Complications of Organ transplantation

The possible complications of an organ complication include the following:

  • Infection due to suppressed natural defence mechanism
  • Loss of functioning of the transplanted organ
  • Severe side effects of medication

Prevention of Graft Rejection

The following preventive measures are carried out before and after the transplantation is done:
ABO blood typing
HLA (tissue antigen) typing
Immunosuprressants taken after the graft is done to prevent potential graft rejection.

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