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End Stage Renal Failure Could Potentially Lead to a Pancreas Transplant

Physician smiling for the camera in the operating room End stage renal failure occurs when the kidneys are no longer able to filter the blood, to a degree that dialysis or a transplant is necessary to keep the patient alive. Renal failure may happen slowly over a period of time – such is the case when it is caused by chronic kidney disease – or it may develop suddenly, as the result of a medical overdose or a traumatic injury to the organ. When their kidneys fail, patients may experience:

  • Fluid retention, which often presents as swelling in the hands and legs
  • Increased potassium levels in the blood, which can be life-threatening if improperly managed
  • Decreased immune response, which can make a person more susceptible to contagious illnesses
  • Complications involving the central nervous system

Although renal failure involves the kidneys, it is frequently caused by a problem with the pancreas. For instance, patients with diabetes may experience kidney failure as a result of their pancreas not processing insulin the way that it should. This is the case for the vast majority of end stage kidney failure cases. Because of this, physicians often recommend patients with end stage kidney failure for a pancreas transplant. (Sometimes, both a new pancreas and a new kidney will be necessary.) Only about 10 percent of pancreas only transplants are performed on patients who do not have severe renal failure.

At Tampa General Hospital, we perform pancreas transplants for patients with end stage kidney failure, and we complete more of these procedures than most other transplant centers in the state of Florida. When patients are referred to our transplant program - we review their physician-submitted referral form to assess their diagnosis and their overall health status - and help them determine if a transplant is the most appropriate treatment for their unique situation.

To learn more about a pancreas transplant as a treatment for end stage renal failure, contact Tampa General Hospital’s Pancreas Transplant Program by calling 1-800-505-7769 (press 5 for the pancreas transplant program, and ask for the referral coordinator), or call the referral coordinator directly by calling (813) 844-8686.