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Pancreas Transplant Qualifications for Referral to Tampa General Hospital

smiling physician and patientThe pancreas transplant qualifications specified by Tampa General Hospital’s Pancreas Transplant Program are intended to help our medical professionals determine which patients are in most urgent need of a graft. To be considered for a pancreas transplant, potential candidates must have type 1 diabetes and stage 5 chronic kidney disease (CKD) or end-stage renal disease (ESRD). In certain cases, patients diagnosed with stage 4 CKD may also be considered.

The candidate selection process begins when a patient is referred to our pancreas transplant program by a physician who fills out our transplant referral form. Utilizing the information on this form, our transplant team can review the patient’s medical history and other pertinent facts and decide if he or she should come to Tampa General for further evaluation. If a secondary evaluation is necessary, the data gleaned from the in-person meeting (as well as the information from the referral form) will be used by our Medical Review Board (MRB) to decide if the patient meets the qualifications to be placed on the pancreas transplant waiting list. In general, most candidates for pancreas transplant meet the following qualifications:

  • They take insulin
  • They are younger than 55 years old
  • They are in generally good health
  • They have financial and social support structures in place to help cope with the surgery and with post-surgical needs

Beyond these pancreas transplant qualifications, there are contraindications that our MRB factors in when determining if a potential candidate should be put on the waiting list. The following absolute contraindications exclude a patient from being considered for transplant:

  • Demonstrated non-compliance with medical regimens or treatments
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) over 40
  • Age over 80
  • Positive HIV status
  • Active malignancy
  • Severe and irreversible cardiac or peripheral vascular disease, such as severe cardiomyopathy with an ejection fraction of less than 25 percent
  • Lack of insurance or other financial means for handling the expenses involved with surgery and post-surgical treatment
  • No potential care partners in the area to help with recovery after surgery
  • Active abuse of alcohol, drugs, or other substances
  • Active or uncontrolled psychological disorders

Depending on the particular patient and his or her degree of illness, there are also relative contraindications that may or may not prevent being placed on the transplant waiting list. Such conditions include:

  • High sensitization with high antibody levels that are not responding to desensitization treatment
  • BMI between 35 and 40
  • Untreated infections (active or chronic)
  • Malignant cancer within the last two to five years
  • Significant cardiac or peripheral vascular disease with current tobacco use
  • Active Hepatitis B or C
  • A damaged urinary tract that is not intact or functional and lacks a viable diversion

It should be noted that all of the preceding pancreas transplant qualifications and contraindications are guidelines. Every patient referred to our program is reviewed individually, taking into account his or her specific circumstances.

For more information about the pancreas transplant qualifications for Tampa General Hospital’s Pancreas Transplant Program, please call 1-800-505-7769 (press 5 for the pancreas transplant program and ask for the referral coordinator), or call (813) 844-8686 to reach the referral coordinator directly.