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SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

Division of Transplantation

What to expect after your transplant

The Hospital Stay

After your transplant you should expect to be in the hospital for 5 to 7 days depending of the function of your new kidney. During this time you will meet many members of the transplant team who will teach you how to take care of yourself and your new kidney.

Don't be surprised if the kidney does not begin to work right away. This is quite common and usually temporary. It does not mean that the transplant will not be successful. You may need several dialysis treatments until the kidney recovers normal function.


Soon after transplant, the Transplant Nurses will work closely with you to teach you about the medications you must take in order to keep the kidney functioning. You will learn the name of each medication, what it does, when and how to take it, and its side effects. It is very important that you know how to take your medications properly. The nurses will make sure that you are able to take your medications exactly as prescribed by the doctor before you leave the hospital.

The Surgical Site

In addition to learning how to take your medications, you will learn how to examine your new kidney and surgical site. This is so you can identify potential signs of infection, rejection, or inflammation of the surgical site which must be identified and treated quickly.

Examine the kidney area every day for three (3) months as you were taught. Call the Transplant Coordinator if you are experiencing soreness, tenderness, warmth, swelling, redness or drainage from the transplant incision.

You may have several tubes or drains in place following your transplant including an “IV” (intravenous ) line for giving you fluids or a “Foley catheter” to monitor your urine output. Most of these will be removed prior to your discharge from the hospital, however, you may need to have them in place at home. If you go home with any of these, arrangements for their care will be made before you go home.

Going Home

After leaving the hospital and resuming your regular lifestyle you will probably find yourself enjoying life more every day as your recovery continues. There are several things you must do at home to monitor your general health and take care of your new kidney.

The following instructions are recommended for the best management of your new kidney. If you are having any difficulties with the procedures or if you have any questions, please call the Transplant Nurse Practitioner.

Prior to discharge, you will be taught how to record self-monitoring of your fluid intake, urine output, blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, weight, and kidney exam on the Patient Home Monitoring Record (this will be given to you by your Transplant Nurse in the hospital.

Please bring the monitoring record, medication card, and diabetic record (if you have diabetes) with you to each clinic visit.