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The University of Maryland tailors the medications necessary for a successful transplant to individual patient needs and the type of organ transplanted. Without immunosuppressive medications, the transplant will be lost to rejection despite the time since transplantation. The University of Maryland is committed to ongoing monitoring of both the patient and the transplanted organ to ensure success. Further refinements of the immunosuppresive medications may be necessary or suggested during the long-term care phase of transplantation. Several important protocols are highlighted:
Steroid-Free Protocol: The majority of our patients are given only a short course of steroids following transplantation to reduce side effects and improve the overall experience.
CNI Minimization: Medications such as Tacrolimus and Cyclosporine have been the center of immunosuppressive strategies to prevent organ rejection for decades. Although they are valuable in this regard, they can cause injury to the kidney when taken for long periods of time. The University of Maryland has active protocols to reduce the amount of these medications (i.e. Rapamycin) that are equally safe but potentially better for longer organ survival.
Protocol Biopsy and Donor-Specific Antibody: Regular lab work is very important to follow the health of the new kidney transplant as clinical symptoms often do not occur with early transplant rejection. For this reason, kidney transplant patients are asked to undergo percutaneous ultrasound-guided kidney biopsies at both three months and one year to evaluate the status of their kidney transplant. At these same time points, blood is drawn to monitor for the development of harmful antibodies against the transplant, which can affect the long-term survival of the transplanted kidney. When found early, the transplant team is better able to successfully make plans to prevent irreversible injury to the transplanted kidney.