Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients who received a Kidney Transplant and are rehospitalized within 30 days of transplant have a 55 percent increased likelihood of dying after six years than those who are not rehospitalized. It is common for patients to be readmitted to the hospital soon after getting a kidney transplant but it is still unclear what causes these rehospitalizations and if they can be avoided. A recent study found that early rehospitalizations after kidney transplant surgery were associated with longer initial stay at the hospital, amount of years spent on the organ waiting list and a weekend discharge. “These findings indicate that early rehospitalization may be a strong signal of patient vulnerability, and such patients may benefit from more careful clinical monitoring post-transplant," said the lead author, Michael Harhay, MA, MPH, Department of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Only 9 percent of the rehospitalizations within 30 days were planned and 9 percent of unplanned readmissions were found to be preventable. The leading causes of unplanned rehospitalizations were complications from the operation while 15 percent were due to blood clots and pain, 14 percent were due to the body rejecting the kidney, 11 percent were due to fluids in the blood being too high or too low, another 11 percent were due to bodily infections, and 3 percent were due to surgical wound infections. Overall, the researchers found that a weekend discharge was associated with a 65 percent increased risk of having one early rehospitalization, and patients who had a longer initial length of stay were more than twice as likely to have two or more early rehospitalizations. Those with CKD should use these predictors of rehospitalizations to identify and prevent as much as possible, risk factors that may lead to additional complications and hospital readmission.
The Dialy Rx website notes that CKD patients should "Tell your doctor if you notice any sudden changes after kidney transplant." After the initial surgery the CKD patient will stay in the hospital for an average of three to four days to recover, according to the Mayo Clinic. The transplant team will watch their patient's recovery process during that time. Even once released, recent Kidney Transplant recipients will need to stay near their hospital for two to three weeks so surgeons can monitor new kidney function and initial recovery.
In order to decrease your risk of rehospitalization, KidneyBuzz.com encourages you to follow up with all of your scheduled appointments. Although your primary Nephrologist will update your Transplant Team about your progress over time, you will have to follow-up with appointments at your Transplant Hospital on an annual basis or more frequently if necessary. Make sure you plan well in advance to attend those important meetings with your Transplant Team. Also, take advantage of your certified Transplant Nurse Coordinator who will be available to answer your questions and communicate with you and your Healthcare Team for several months after your Kidney Transplant.
Take your medication according to your Nephrologist's regimen. You will likely need to take immunosuppressant medications for the entire remainder of your life to keep your body from rejecting the kidney. Your Transplant Team will discuss your new medications in detail, so pay close attention and be diligent with asking questions. Also, follow the specific guidelines of your exercise and nutrition plan. KidneyBuzz.com suggests that you work with you Healthcare Team to develop a specific treatment plan for your lifestyle to achieve the optimal Kidney Transplant outcome.
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"Early Rehospitalization after Kidney Transplant May Be Predicted through Several Risk Factors." Dailyrx.com. American Journal of Transplantation/The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease Provided Funding
"Newswise." Early Rehospitalization after Kidney Transplant Caused by Complexity of Condition, Not Poor Quality of Care. Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
"Kidney Transplant: Kidney transplant process at Mayo Clinic" Mayoclinic.org. The Mayo Clinic