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Information about Pancreas Transplantation at TGH

Pancreas Transplantation

Pancreas transplantation is generally performed to treat type 1 diabetes, a disease characterized by the lack of insulin production. When insulin isn’t being generated within the body, kidney disease can occur, sometimes followed by renal failure. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is another condition that can spur pancreas failure. It can cause organs to fail and require a patient to be placed on dialysis to filter his or her blood. As the pancreas and kidneys are closely linked and are both negatively affected by these conditions, pancreas and kidney transplantation are typically performed together, often on the same day. Tampa General Hospital’s Pancreas Transplant Program, which has been improving the lives of insulin-dependent patients since 2001, performs combined kidney / pancreas, pancreas after kidney, and pancreas alone transplants.

According to Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) data, our one-year pancreas transplantation patient survival rates are typically higher than the national average and are often better than the expected rates for hospitals with similar transplant programs. This success is due in part to the interdisciplinary approach to pancreas transplantation that our transplant program team takes by involving several experts in a patient’s individual case, and by working closely with other solid organ transplant programs at Tampa General. The SRTR data also shows that our pancreas transplantation program has one of the shortest times to transplant in Florida and the entire nation. Historically, half of the patients on our combined kidney / pancreas transplant waiting list have been transplanted within a few months and half of the patients on the pancreas only waiting list receive a transplant in less than a year of listing. These numbers indicate that Tampa General typically provides transplants to patients four times faster than the nationally expected rates, an advantage that is thanks to our partnership with LifeLink Foundation, Inc.

By working with this nationally recognized organ procurement organization, we have the opportunity to perform a high volume of pancreas transplantation procedures. In order to be placed on our waiting list for a transplant, patients must be referred by their physician and be individually evaluated to determine if they meet the criteria set by our pancreas transplantation program and national organizations. In most cases, our pancreas transplantation patients generally:

  • Are 55 years old or younger
  • Are otherwise relatively healthy (no advanced heart or vascular disease)
  • Take insulin regularly
  • Are experiencing or have experienced kidney failure
  • Have a financial and social support system in place
  • Are experiencing no untreated psychiatric disorders

The above are general guidelines; our health care team will determine the most appropriate course of action depending on each patient's pancreas transplant referral form and other factors.