Choosing a transplant center
If your doctor recommends a pancreas transplant, you'll be referred to a transplant center. You're also free to select a transplant center on your own or choose a center from your insurance company's list of preferred providers.
When you consider transplant centers, you may want to:
- Learn about the number and type of transplants the center performs each year
- Ask about the transplant center's organ donor and recipient survival rates
- Compare transplant center statistics through the database maintained by the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients
- Consider additional services provided by the transplant center, such as support groups, travel arrangements, local housing for your recovery period and referrals to other resources
After you've selected a transplant center, you'll need an evaluation to determine whether you meet the center's eligibility requirements for a pancreas transplant.
When the transplant team assesses your eligibility, they'll consider the following:
- Are you healthy enough to have surgery and tolerate lifelong post-transplant medications?
- Do you have any medical conditions that would hinder transplant success?
- Are you willing and able to take medications and advice as directed?
If you need a kidney transplant, too, the transplant team will also determine if it's best for you to have the pancreas and kidney transplants during the same surgery, or a kidney transplant first, followed by the pancreas transplant at a later date. The best option depends on the severity of your kidney damage, the availability of donors and your preference.
Once you've been accepted as a candidate for a pancreas transplant, your name will be placed on a national list of people awaiting a transplant. The waiting time for a transplant depends on your blood group and how long it takes for a suitable donor — one whose blood and tissue types match yours — to become available.
Whether you're waiting for a donated pancreas to become available or your transplant surgery is already scheduled, it's important to stay as healthy as possible.
- Take your medications as prescribed.
- Follow your diet and exercise guidelines.
- Keep all appointments with your health care team.
- Stay involved in healthy activities, including relaxing and spending time with family and friends.
If you're waiting for a donated pancreas, make sure the transplant team knows how to reach you at all times and arrange transportation to the transplant center in advance.
Jan. 27, 2015
- Klein CL, et al. Patient selection for and immunologic issues relating to kidney-pancreas transplantation in diabetes mellitus. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 12, 2014.
- Facts about pancreas transplants. American Society of Transplantation. http://www.a-s-t.org/files/pdf/patient_education/english/AST-EdBroPANCREAS-ENG.pdf. Accessed June 12, 2014.
- Klein C, et al. Benefits and complications associated with kidney-pancreas transplantation in diabetes mellitus. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 12, 2014.
- Pancreas transplantation. American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/transplantation/pancreas-transplantation.html. Accessed June 12, 2014.
- Robertson RP. Pancreas and islet transplantation in diabetes mellitus. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 12, 2014.
- Brunicardi FC, ed., et al. Schwartz's Principles of Surgery. 9th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2010. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=50. Accessed June 12, 2014.
- Health after transplantation. American Society of Transplantation. http://www.healthytransplant.com/health_maintenance/health_after_transplantation.aspx. Accessed June 12, 2014.
- Preparing for the transplant. American Society of Transplantation. http://www.healthytransplant.com/health_maintenance/preparing_for_transplant.aspx. Accessed June 12, 2014.
- Kidney-pancreas transplant. National Kidney Foundation. http://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/kidpantx.cfm. Accessed June 12, 2014.
- OPTN/SRTR 2012 Annual Data Report: Pancreas. Health Services and Resources Administration. http://srtr.transplant.hrsa.gov/annual_reports/2012. Accessed June 12, 2014.