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Pancreas-Kidney Transplants

What is a Pancreas-Kidney Transplant?

If you have kidney failure and Type 1 diabetes and your body no longer makes insulin, you may qualify for a pancreas-kidney transplant.

Many people with Type 1 diabetes face the possibility of kidney failure. Pancreas-kidney transplant surgeries eliminate the patient’s need for daily insulin injections.

Your medical team will include transplant surgeons, nephrologists (kidney specialists), nurse practitioners, transplant nurse coordinators, social workers, nutritionists, financial counselors and pharmacists.

Simultaneous Pancreas and Kidney Transplant (SPK)

This option is for patients needing a pancreas and a kidney – many times from diabetes-related complications – and the 2 organs are transplanted at the same time.

Pancreas After Kidney Transplant (PAK)

This is an option for diabetics on insulin in need of a new pancreas who have had a kidney transplant and are doing well off dialysis.

Pancreas Transplant Alone (PTA)

This is an option for diabetics with good kidney function, but difficult-to-control blood sugar. Patients who had their pancreas removed due to chronic pancreatitis and have difficulty controlling their blood sugar can also benefit.

What to Expect

Before the Transplant

Before you can be selected for a transplant, you will be thoroughly evaluated by our transplant team. Pre-transplant testing gives a clear picture of your overall health status and can identify potential problems before they occur. Using your evaluations and transplant selection criteria, a team of specialists will determine if you are a good candidate.

If accepted for transplantation, you’ll be added to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) waiting list.

Patients are prioritized on the waiting list based on waiting time, compatibility between donor and recipient blood types and human leukocyte antigen (HLA) testing.

After the Transplant

The usual hospital stay following transplantation is 5 to 7 days. Your transplant team will offer support and education such as how to prevent rejection and daily care after discharge. Your follow-up care will include anti-rejection therapy management and ongoing education.