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What are the risks of rejection of a kidney transplant?

Q: My friend recently had a successful kidney transplant from a live donor who happened to be a family member. How do you rate the success of such an operation as I have heard about rejection occurring in some cases? What are the implications of such a surgery and does it have any harmful effects? Does he need to be under any medication throughout his life? What are his chances of leading a normal married life? He is 24 years old and was a very active person. He developed the kidney problem after an attack of Steven Johnsons Syndrome. Could you please elaborate on this as well?

A:Your friend had a severe allergic reaction perhaps to a medication, which culminated in kidney failure requiring kidney transplant. The surgery itself is a low risk procedure. But following the surgery one has to be aware of the side effects and complications of the medications required to prevent the body from rejecting the transplanted kidney. The side effects include risk for various viral and bacterial infection, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease besides certain kinds of cancer. But by far the most common cause of death in such transplant recipients is heart disease. Most transplant recipients enjoy a happy married life. Sometimes, certain medications can cause sexual dysfunction and presence of conditions like diabetes may lead to erectile dysfunction in men. Thus it is important to discuss such aspects with the transplant physician.

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