After a liver transplant, the body recognizes the liver is not its own. Its natural reaction is to reject the new liver. Your child will take medication to help prevent a rejection. However, approximately 50 percent of patients experience some degree of liver rejection in the first year following transplant.
Your child’s physician will watch for signs of liver rejection by testing liver enzyme levels in your child’s blood on a regular basis. Elevated enzyme levels may be the only symptom of rejection. If your child’s physician suspects rejection, the liver care team will conduct a liver biopsy.
If the doctor determines that the body is rejecting the new liver, your child will probably be hospitalized for five to seven days. Usually, medications control rejection. The doctor may repeat the liver biopsy to ensure that the rejection has been controlled. In rare cases of severe and untreatable rejection, doctors may need to perform another liver transplant.