Frequently Asked Questions
Liver Transplantation Kidney Transplantation Heart Transplantation Lung Transplantation Pancreas Transplantation
Survival rate Success rate of liver transplantation in SNUH is 99% (in-hospital mortality 1%).
Overall 5-year survival rate is 94% (liver cirrhosis patients 97%, hepatocellular carcinoma patients within Milan criteria 92%).
5-year survival rate of living related or unrelated donor kidney transplantation is 85-95%, and that of deceased donor kidney transplantation is 75-85%.
However, success rate of kidney transplantation is gradually increasing because of development of better immunosuppressive drugs recently.
In addition, even if the transplanted kidney function is lost due to rejection, patients can back to dialysis or receive re-transplantation.
Accurate survival rate of our country do not exist.
However, about 70-80% of heart transplant patients improve their medical condition than before transplantation recently.
Accurate survival rate of our country do not exist.
However, about 60-70% of lung transplant patients improve their medical condition than before transplantation recently.
1-year survival rate of transplanted pancreas is more than 90%. Recently, simultaneous kidney and pancreas transplantation shows 70% survival rate, and exceed 80% based on transplantation centers.
Complication In addition to surgical complications following organ transplantation, graft rejection and primary graft dysfunction can occur.
And, after taking immunosuppressive drugs, infection, renal dysfunction high blood pressure, post-transplant diabetes mellitus, obesity, hyperlipidemia, gastrointestinal disorders, tremor, alopecia, hirsutism, headache, nausea, osteoporosis may occur. In addition, because of the high incidence of malignant lymphoma, lip cancer, and cervical cancer, regular check-ups are necessary.
To prevent transplanted organ rejection, patients should take immunosuppressive drugs.
Using immunosuppressive drugs cuts both ways, rejection and infection. It means that patients could be injured if the medicine is used by wrong way.
Using too little immunosuppressants will lead to a rejection, and too much immunosuppression will cause infection. In addition, a skin disease (acne, etc.), high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, or cataracts can occur because of steroid use.
Inspection fee/
surgery cost
Inspection fee of recipient
: about 13-18 million

surgery and hospitalization cost of recipient
: about 120-140 million

Inspection fee of donor
: about 6-8 million

surgery and hospitalization cost of donor
: about 27-28 million
Inspection fee of recipient
: about 11-13 million

surgery and hospitalization cost of recipient
: about 48-52 million

Inspection fee of donor
: about 2-2.5 million

surgery and hospitalization cost of donor
: about 7-10 million
surgery and hospitalization cost of recipient
: about 150-250 million
surgery and hospitalization cost of recipient
: more than 200 million
(It may vary greatly depending on the state of individual patients.)
surgery and hospitalization cost of recipient
: about 150-200 million
All of the cost may exceed the estimated amount if the hospital stay lengthens or complications occur.
The cost is denoted by Korean won ().
Since it is necessary to take life-long immunosuppressive drugs and outpatient care, costs of medicine, inspection charges, and medical fee will be need continuously.
Hospitalization/
Nursing period
Hospital stay is about two to three weeks, and in some cases may take longer hospital stay.
Nursing period is about 8 weeks. However, for a period of 3 months after surgery, patients should avoid public place because of the high risk of infection.
Hospital stay is about two weeks, and 6-8 weeks is recommended to stabilize after surgery. Hospital stay is about 4 weeks, and 6-8 weeks is recommended to stabilize after surgery.
Walking exercise can help the recovery.
Hospital stay is about 4-6 weeks, and minimum 8 weeks is necessary to stabilize after surgery. Hospital stay is about 3 weeks, and 6-8 weeks is recommended to stabilize after surgery.
Etc. >
Q : What happens if the patients do not take the immunosuppressive drugs?
A Absolutely not. Lifetime use of immunosuppressive drugs after transplantation to the principle.
In order to prevent acute rejection, dose of immunosuppressants is extended at the early period after transplantation.
Even though the dose of immunosuppressants is reduced gradually after initial period, patients must take the medicine continuously.
Arbitrarily reducing the drug dose or forgetting to take immunosuppressants usually lead to the rejection.
Living donor transplantation
Liver transplantation Kidney transplantation
Requirement of
living donor
Anyone who are at least 16-year-old physically and mentally healthy can be donor of liver transplantation.
However, caution is required if donors are older than 60 years. Most subjects are family or spouse, but also friends can be pure donors.
The final decision whether to donate liver will be determined according to the result of donor's liver size and lesion through blood test, CT scan and MRI scan. In some cases, a liver biopsy may identify liver condition.


- carrier of hepatitis B virus or history of hepatitis C virus infection
- AIDS
- alcoholics
- drug abusers
- patients who take medicine currently due to psychologic problem
- history of malignant cancer recently
- serious medical conditions
While only compatible blood type kidney transplantation could be performed in the past, incompatible blood type transplantation can be performed if recipients receive 'desensitization treatment' currently.
In addition, the degree of histocompatibility should be match between donor and recipient, and there must be no rejection in the blood cross-match test. Less than 60 years of age is usually recommended.
Donors should not have high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, chronic hepatitis (hepatitis B or C virus), or tuberculosis. And donors must have normal kidney function. Kidney function is examined through blood test, urine test, and angiography.
If donors have sexually transmitted disease, transplantation can be performed after treatment. Anesthesia evaluation (electrocardiogram, chest x-ray, etc.) will be also performed for examining tolerability for general anesthesia and surgery.
The women who do not have a birth plan will be more suitable because weight gain in pregnancy could be a burden on the kidneys. What's more important is that donors are willing to donate their organs voluntarily.
Complications of
living donor
The complication rate of liver donors in SNUH is about 6%, however, most cases do not require treatment. In addition, there was no mortality case among liver donors in SNUH.
Biliary complication rate of liver donors was reported to be around 15-30% globally, those of SNUH lowered to 1% recently. Although the risk of serious complications of liver donors is low, complications associated with surgery and anesthesia are as follows:
- bleeding
- bile leakage
- scar hernia (weakened surgical wound leads to hernia)
- constipation
- gastrointestinal problem such as vomiting or diarrhea
- transient jaundice
- psychological problem if transplantation fails
- liver failure
Bleeding, infection, and a variety of complications can occur as a surgery performed under general anesthesia, but those are rare. Most living donors have few problem in their daily life even if they have only one kidney after surgery.
Living donor
Hospitalization/Nursing
period
Donors require a two-week hospital stay and about 4-6 weeks of recovery time. After surgery, donors can do general activities (ex. driving, simple paperwork at the office, or simple housework) except forced labor or vigorous exercise.
However, more rest is needed after 6-week care if feel badly. Even in the absence of complications, it may take several months that some donors return to work.
Living donor
Daily life/Recovery
Without complications, it is expected to return to fully normal daily life within three months after surgery.
Etc. >
Q : What is 'desensitization treatment' which is performed if donor and recipient's blood type is different?
A Desensitization treatment is therapies that reduce the amount of antibody related to organ rejection and get rid of antibody-producing cells to overcome incompatible blood types.
Plasma exchange, immunoglobulin administration, etc. are performed.
Kidney transplantation is possible after desensitization treatment even if antibodies related to rejection are increased due to second transplantation, frequent blood transfusions, or pregnancy.
Transplantation of children/Youth
Q : What are the points to keep in mind generally after transplantation in children?
A Most of the daily life after transplantation is possible. Until 3 months after transplantation, it is better to avoid raw foods.
It is important to take the correct dose of immunosuppressive drugs on a regular time.
The use of immunosuppressive drugs increases the chances of diabetes.
Regular exercise is recommended because it is important to control the blood pressure and body weight. And we also recommend to drink enough water and eat food not salty.
* Other points to note: Taking the medicine after blood sampling at the day of checking the blood level of immunosuppressants.
Q : After discharge, what are the caution generally?
A Early detection is important because rejection and complications are likely to occur at a few months after transplantation. Therefore,
1) Follow your doctor's instructions to visit outpatient clinic after discharge.
2) Record various things in the children grow handbook, and bring it to the hospital.
3) Contact your doctor immediately if abnormal symptoms and sign appear because complications such as acute and chronic rejection, metabolic disorder (diabetes, hyperlipidemia, cardiovascular complications) could occur.
Q : When can the patients go to school after transplantation?
A Returning to school is generally possible after 3 months after transplantation.
However, it may vary depending on the state of children, you must consult your doctor at the outpatient visits.
Special attention in children's transplantation (1~6 months / 6~12 months / 1~2 years / 2~5 years)
General children's transplantation Children's liver transplantation Children's kidney transplantation Children's heart transplantation
1~6 months Most of the daily life is possible, and returning to school is possible after 3 months after transplantation. It is better to avoid raw foods because the immune system is weakened due to immunosuppressants.
In addition, you must be attention to a bacterial or fungal infection. It is better to avoid cleaning the house with lots of dirt or moving, and keeping animals or plants are not recommended.
Initially, visit hospital every week, and then every 2-6 weeks. Blood test, urine test, and blood pressure measurement are performed at each visit, and ultrasonic and imaging studies are performed once the 2-3 months. Examination of various virus infections is conducted per 1 month. The dose of immunosuppressive drugs will be gradually reduced. Initially, visit the hospital bi-weekly, and then every four weeks.
Physical examination, blood test, electrocardiogram, and chest x-ray are performed at each visit, and echocardiography will be conducted depending on the state of patients.
Every three month, heart muscle biopsy is performed to determine whether the rejection.
6~12 months Raw foods (fruits and vegetables) can also be ingested, and must be careful not to be obese.
Regular exercise is recommended. Psychological and developmental counseling will be started.
Visit the hospital monthly or bi-monthly. Blood test, urine test, and blood pressure measurement are performed at every visit, and examination of virus infection and imaging studies are conducted every six months. Visit the hospital once a month. Physical examination, blood test, electrocardiogram, and chest x-ray are performed at each visit, and echocardiography will be conducted depending on the state of patients.
Every six month, heart muscle biopsy is performed.
1~2 years There are no particular limitations on food intake and study.
Taking immunosuppressive drug regularly is very important. Psychological and developmental counseling will be conducted.
Visit the hospital once in 2-3 months, and undergo blood test at each visit and 1-2 imaging studies will be performed.
During the period, you must pay attention to late complications such as rejection or infection.
Visit the hospital once in 1-2 months, and blood test, urine test, and blood pressure measurement are performed at every visit.
Every year, examination of virus infection, kidney ultrasonography, echocardiography, bone age, and eye exam will be conducted.
Visit the hospital every 1-2 months. Physical examination, blood test, electrocardiogram, chest x-ray, and echocardiography are performed at each visit. Once a year, heart muscle biopsy is performed.
2~5 years There are no particular limitations on food intake and study. Taking immunosuppressive drug regularly is very important.
You should pay attention to psychological instability that can occur in adolescence or physical development through the psychological and developmental counseling.
Visit the hospital once in 3-4 months, and undergo blood test at each visit and 1 imaging study will be performed once a year.
During the period, you must pay attention to late complications such as chronic rejection, vascular complication or infection.
Visit the hospital once in 1-3 months, and blood test, urine test, and blood pressure measurement are performed at every visit.
Every year, examination of virus infection, kidney ultrasonography, echocardiography, and bone age exam will be conducted.
During the period, you must pay attention to chronic rejection, high blood pressure and proteinuria.
Visit the hospital every 2-3 months. Physical examination, blood test, electrocardiogram, chest x-ray, and echocardiography are performed at each visit.
Once a year, heart muscle biopsy is performed.
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