Medical Information

Know Your Labs

After transplantation, your transplant team will want to monitor how your new organ is doing, and will ask you to schedule follow-up appointments and tests.

Most of your follow-up appointments, tests, and labs will happen during the first few months after your transplant. But your transplant team will probably want to see you at least once a year for life and will recommend that you schedule regular visits with your primary care doctor, family doctor, or specialist.

Here’s a chart of some of the blood tests you might have:

Tests What does it do? Type of Test
ALT: alanine aminotransferase Monitors liver function Blood
Alkaline Phosphatase Monitors liver function Blood
Bicarbonate Monitors acid/base balance in blood Blood
Bilirubin Monitors liver function Blood
Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) Monitors kidney function Blood
Carbon dioxide (CO2) Measures respiratory and kidney function Blood
Complete Blood Count (CBC) Hematocrit—monitors anemia
Hemoglobin (blood oxygen level)
Platelets—monitors anemia and bleeding tendencies
White blood cells—infection/rejection
Creatinine Monitors kidney function Blood
GGTP: gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase Monitors liver function Blood
Glucose (blood sugar) Monitors pancreas function and diabetes Blood
Immunosuppressant blood level Monitors level of immunosuppressant drugs in your body Blood
Magnesium Monitors kidney function and diabetes Blood
Phosphorus Monitors kidney function Blood
Potassium Monitors kidney function Blood
Prothrombin time (PT) Monitors blood clotting Blood
AST; aspartate aminotransferase Monitors liver function Blood
Sodium Measures kidney function Blood

Here’s a chart of some the additional tests you might have if rejection is suspected:

Tests What does it do? Type of Test
Tissue sample from the transplanted organ removed Assesses condition of organ (function, rejection, damage) Biopsy
Cholangiogram Visualizes liver and bile duct function Radiology
Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) Visualizes bile and pancreatic duct function Radiology

Before having your blood drawn for tests, be sure to ask your transplant team if there are any instructions you should follow. For instance, you might be required to stop taking some of your medication or refrain from eating or drinking hours before the test. It is vital that you follow your transplant team’s instructions in order to avoid impacting the results of the test.

By going to these appointments and continuing with needed test and lab work, as scheduled, you’ll not only be helping your transplant team follow your progress, but you’ll also help them catch early warning signs of side effects or rejection.

Home Tests

Your transplant team may also ask you to perform regular tests at home to keep track of how you’re doing. Tests could include recording your:

  • Weight
  • Temperature
  • Blood Pressure
  • Pulse
  • Blood Sugar

You can use My Health Resource from Astellas Cares to record your test information.

It’s important to understand what your normal values are when you take these tests, so you can tell your transplant team if your results are above or below your normal range. Your transplant team will be able give you all the information you’ll need to complete these tests and evaluate your progress.