Rejection and Bile Duct Problems in Liver Transplants
Rejection is when your body’s immune system attacks your transplanted organ and tries to destroy it. Rejection can happen any time. When found early, rejection can be treated by using anti-rejection (immunosuppression) medicines. If rejection is not treated, the new liver will not survive.
Know the signs of rejection and watch for them. Transplant rejection responds to treatment better if treated promptly.
• Increase in liver blood tests and/or bilirubin
• Increased temperature (over 100° F or 37.7°C)
• Jaundice – yellow color seen in skin and white part of eye (sclera)
• Tenderness over liver site
• Achy or flu-like symptoms
Often with rejection you will NOT have any signs, other than your liver blood tests rising. If rejection is suspected, a liver biopsy needs to be done.
Bile duct problems
Bile is made in the liver and drains into the intestine through the bile duct. Bile is a dark brown, gold colored fluid that is thick and sticky. Bile can turn into sludge or stones and cause the bile ducts to get plugged. Bile can also leak from the area where ducts are connected, causing infection.
If you have any of these signs of problems, call your coordinator.
• Fever (over 100 F or 37.7C) or shaking chills
• Pain over liver site
• Jaundice– yellow color seen in skin and white part of eye (sclera)
• Dark (tea-colored) urine
• Clay-colored stools
• Increase in bilirubin level and/or other liver blood tests
• Drainage at T-tube site
An ERCP is often done to look for bile duct problems.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 05/09/2012
Copyright © 05/09/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6795
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