Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Center for Liver Disease & Transplantation

About Organ Rejection

It is natural for your immune system to see your new organ as a foreign object and try to attack it. To help your body accept your new organ, we give you anti-rejection (immunosuppressive) medications. These medications weaken your immune system so that it will not reject the organ.

Most patients experience at least one episode of rejection, which does not always mean you will lose your new organ.

Always take your anti-rejection medications as directed and report any changes in your health as soon as possible. Early detection and prevention are essential to reversing the process of rejection, which can occur at any time.

Signs of rejection include:

  • Elevated liver enzymes (verified with a blood test)
  • Jaundice (yellowing of eyes or skin)
  • Flu-like symptoms: chills, aches, pains, headache, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting
  • Fever over 101°F
  • Cola- or tea-colored urine
  • Clay colored stools
  • Pain or fullness over your incision site

Sometimes you may experience rejection without having any symptoms at all. That’s why it’s very important to keep your follow-up appointments. The blood tests taken during your follow-up appointments may reveal the first signs of rejection.

To find out if your organ is being rejected, we may ask that you repeat your lab tests and have an ultrasound or biopsy. If the tests detect rejection, you will probably be admitted to the hospital for treatment and receive medication through an IV for a specific amount of time.

Most rejection is reversible if it is found early, so it’s very important that you report any signs of rejection to your transplant team as soon as possible.

To find out more about the Methodist Center for Liver Disease and Transplantation, call us at 713-441-8839 or at 866-94-LIVER (866-945-4837) or send us an email.