Rejection and Bile Duct Problems in Liver Transplants
Rejection is when your body’s immune system attacks your transplanted organ and tries to
destroy it. Rejection can happen any time. When found early, rejection can be treated by using
anti-rejection (immunosuppression) medicines. If rejection is not treated, the new liver will not
Know the signs of rejection and watch for them. Transplant rejection responds to treatment
better if treated promptly.
ξ Increase in liver blood tests and/or bilirubin
ξ Increased temperature (over 100 θ F or 37.7 θC)
ξ Jaundice – yellow color seen in skin and white part of eye (sclera)
ξ Tenderness over liver site
ξ Achy or flu-like symptoms
Often with rejection you will NOT have any signs, other than your liver blood tests rising. If
rejection is suspected, a liver biopsy needs to be done.
Bile duct problems
Bile is made in the liver and drains into the intestine through the bile duct. Bile is a dark brown,
gold colored fluid that is thick and sticky. Bile can turn into sludge or stones and cause the bile
ducts to get plugged. The bile ducts in the liver can also be damaged. Bile can also leak from
the area where ducts are connected. Problems with the bile ducts often lead to infections.
If you have any of these signs of problems, call your coordinator.
ξ Fever (over 100 θ F or 37.7 θC) or shaking chills
ξ Pain over liver site
ξ Jaundice– yellow color seen in skin and white part of eye (sclera)
ξ Dark (tea-colored) urine
ξ Clay-colored stools
ξ Increase in bilirubin level and/or other liver blood tests
ξ Drainage at T-tube site
An ERCP is often done to look for bile duct problems.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright ©1/2016. University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6795.