Types of Pancreas Transplant
Pancreas transplantation is the only method that can offer normal blood sugar control long-term because it replaces the insulin secreting beta cells found in the pancreatic islets.
Our dedicated transplant team is committed to guiding you safely through the transplant process. Our goal is to make you insulin-free and non-diabetic. We will take the time to explain to you and your family the various options available for your pancreas transplant.There are three Pancreas Transplant Types:
Pancreas Transplant Alone (PAT)
Candidates for a pancreas transplant alone are patients who, despite best efforts, suffer from frequent life-threatening hypoglycemic episodes, night-time hypoglycemic unawareness, extreme fluctuations in blood sugar levels or rapidly worsening diabetic complications such as retinopathy, neuropathy and gastroparesis. Although PTA will resolve these serious diabetic complications and may be life-saving, the trade-off is the need for long-term immunosuppressive therapy with its associated side effects including worsening kidney function. Therefore, PTA is offered to diabetic patients who have normal or near-normal kidney function so as not to cause premature kidney failure.
Simultaneous Pancreas and Kidney Transplantation (SPK)
Patients with diabetes who have severe kidney disease with less than 20 percent of function or who are on dialysis are eligible to receive a kidney and pancreas transplant at the same time from the same deceased donor. Thus, SPK cures both kidney disease and diabetes and renders you dialysis-free and insulin independent.
This is the standard of care that may provide many years of kidney and pancreas graft survival. The advantage of SPK transplantation is the need for only one surgical procedure. Patients in need of both pancreas and kidney transplants receive priority on the waiting list.
Pancreas After Kidney Transplantation (PAK)
For patients who have undergone a successful kidney transplant but continue to suffer from progressive diabetic complications or worsening glucose control, a subsequent pancreas transplant is a viable option to become insulin-independent. For patients who need both pancreas and kidney transplants and who have a living kidney donor, the kidney transplant is often performed first to stop or prevent the need for dialysis. This avoids waiting on the deceased donor list and results in improved long-term function of the living donor kidney.
As early as 3 months after the successful living donor kidney transplant, the patient may undergo a pancreas transplant to cure diabetes and prevent further diabetic complications. A pancreas transplant will protect the transplanted kidney from failing due to diabetes-induced renal failure (as the native kidneys did). The disadvantage of PAK is that patients require two surgical procedures. Patients who receive a PAK transplant may enjoy decades of insulin-free life with normal blood glucose control.