Patients with Chronic Renal Failure may be Candidates for a Pancreas Transplant
Chronic renal failure occurs when the kidneys gradually lose their ability to filter waste products out of the blood. As a result, toxins can build up in the body; this, in turn, can cause complications such as nausea, fatigue, excessive thirst, bone pain, and blood in the stool. Although the name suggests that the condition exclusively involves the kidneys, it is often the result of an injury or illness involving the pancreas. For example, pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) can ultimately cause the kidneys to fail. When that is the case, patients may eventually require a pancreas transplant to correct the underlying cause, along with a kidney transplant to address the chronic renal failure. That’s not to say that every patient with renal failure will require a transplant. Many are able to manage their condition by:
- Controlling their blood pressure to help minimize further kidney damage
- Eating a low-fat, low-salt, lower-protein diet and keeping blood sugar under control to help protect the kidneys
- Exercising regularly to help protect against heart disease
- Receiving dialysis if the kidneys have failed to the point that they can no longer adequately do their job
If, despite these treatments, a patient’s condition worsens to end-stage renal disease, a nephrologist or dialysis coordinator may recommend a pancreas and/or kidney transplant. At Tampa General Hospital, our transplant center has performed pancreas only, pancreas after kidney, and combined kidney/pancreas transplants for many patients with chronic renal failure. Our time to transplant is among the shortest in the nation, and our successful partnership with one of the state’s most robust organ procurement organizations - LifeLink Foundation, Inc. allows us to maintain short median times to transplant.
For more information about our transplant requirements for patients with chronic renal failure, contact Tampa General Hospital’s Pancreas Transplant Program at 1-800-505-7769 (press 5 for the pancreas transplant program and ask for the referral coordinator), or call the coordinator directly at (813) 844-8686.