• After a Transplant

    When your child wakes up from anesthesia after the kidney transplant operation, he will be in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Cincinnati Children’s. You will be able to stay with your child (even overnight) throughout his stay at Cincinnati Children’s.

    Your child will remain in the ICU for several days so that she can be closely monitored. Your child’s throat may feel sore or scratchy for a few days. This is from the tube that was placed in the airway to help your child breathe during the surgery.

    Your child will feel some pain and perhaps some nausea after surgery, but she will be given medications to help control these problems. Your child will also wake up with an intravenous line (IV) in her arm and a bigger line near the collar bone or in the neck. These lines are used to give your child fluids and medications the first few days after surgery to monitor her closely and to obtain blood samples frequently without sticking her each time.

    Your child will also have a catheter in his bladder to help pass urine. This may be uncomfortable but will be removed a few days before he goes home.

    Some patients report feeling better immediately after the transplant surgery, while others may require more time. After the transplant, your child will be taking many new medications to keep her and the new kidney healthy. The transplant nurse coordinator will teach you and your child about these medications before you leave the hospital.

    The average length of hospitalization is about a week, but may vary depending on your child’s individual needs.

  • Although it is exciting to go home from the hospital after the kidney transplant, most children are also nervous about it. It takes some time for your child to get used to his new kidney and all the new medications he is taking.

    Don’t worry. You’ll be able to reach someone at Cincinnati Children’s 24 hours a day if you have questions or concerns. You will be able to call the transplant coordinator during the weekdays or the kidney doctor who is on-call every night and weekend. Don’t ever feel that your question is unimportant.

    We want to make sure you are comfortable knowing what to do to take care of your child and that your questions and concerns are addressed.

    For the first several months after the transplant, your child will return to the hospital for clinic visits several times a week. Your child will have blood tests and be examined at each visit so that the transplant team can check kidney function, adjust medications and detect complications.

    Over time, the frequency of the clinic visits will decrease, but it is important for you to understand that your child will always need regular follow-ups with the kidney doctor to check the transplant function.

    For the first four to six weeks after the kidney transplant, the Pediatric Kidney Transplant Program team makes the following recommendations:

    • Wear a mask when coming in and out of the hospital and while in any waiting area. This is to protect your child from the germs of others in the building.
    • Do not send your child to school or day care. This is the time that transplant recipients are most at risk for infection.
    • Avoid crowded indoor places, such as movie theaters or malls.
    • Avoid being around people with an obviously contagious illness.

    During the first few weeks following the kidney transplant, the Pediatric Kidney Transplant Program team will probably make many medication changes.

    It is good for you to know exactly what your child is taking. Bring the pill bottles with you to clinic if you have questions. Also, bring your child’s medication record to each visit.

    If you have questions or concerns, call the Nephrology Division:

    • 8:30 am-5 pm, Monday-Friday, 513-636-4531 or 1-800-344-2462, ext. 64531
    • Evenings, nights and weekends, call the hospital operator, 513-636-4200 or 1-800-344-2462, and ask for the nephrology doctor on-call

    Remember: No question or symptom is silly. We want to hear from you even if it seems trivial or insignificant. We care about your child and want the best recovery possible.  

    Once you have been discharged from the hospital, your child will need to be seen in clinic at least three times a week for the first several weeks. The Nephrology Clinic is on the first floor of Location A.

    • Your child may take all of his medications prior to clinic except Prograf. Bring the Prograf with you to take after your child’s blood is drawn.
    • Every time you come to clinic you will need to stop at the Test Referral Center (TRC) first to have your child’s blood drawn. The center is on the first floor of Location A.
    • Your child’s blood needs to be drawn no later than 9 am so that we can get the results back the same day.
    • Please follow this schedule for clinic visits:

    8:30-9 am: Have blood drawn in TRC

    9 am: Come to Nephrology Clinic

  • Possible Complications

    Learn about potential complications during a liver transplant, including rejection and infection.

    Read more