Many patients who receive an organ run into complications years after their surgeries, says Dr. Megan Sykes, director of the Columbia Center for Translational Immunology at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and professor of microbiology & immunology and surgical sciences (in surgery) and the Michael J. Friedlander Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center.
“All the improvements in immunosuppressant drug therapies [drugs that prevent transplanted organs from being rejected by the recipient] have led to better survival rates in the first one to two years,” she says. “But beyond that, there’s a process of slower graft loss, known as chronic rejection, where the organs get rejected down the line.” And despite advances in medicine and technology, “those late graft loss rates have not improved,” says Dr. Sykes.
Though the statistics on organ rejection differ widely depending on the procedure and type of organ, only 54 percent of kidney transplants, Dr. Sykes’ primary area of focus, are still functioning 10 years later, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Click here for the full story in the most recent issue of New York-Presbyterian Hospital's Health Matters.