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Stage 5 Chronic Kidney Disease May Be a Cause for Pancreas Transplant

Couple smiles outsideStage 5 chronic kidney disease is the final phase of the kidneys shutting down. The condition – which is also known as end-stage renal failure or late chronic kidney insufficiency – occurs when the kidneys are capable of performing only 15 percent or less of their typical waste filtering and chemical regulation functions. Because the kidneys and the pancreas are closely related in their function, an injury to or illness of the pancreas can directly lead to the occurrence of chronic kidney disease. For example, if a pancreas can no longer produce the insulin needed to regulate blood sugar, it can cause gradual kidney damage, as is often seen in type 1 diabetes patients. The symptoms of stage 5 chronic kidney disease are similar to those that occur in other stages of the disease, but they are more severe. A few of the commonly experienced symptoms include:

  • Bleeding and bruising easily
  • Anemia
  • Increased blood pressure
  • High levels of urea in the body
  • Feeling noticeably fatigued or tired
  • Loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting
  • Swelling, especially in the feet and ankles
  • Reduced mental alertness, increased trouble concentrating, or general confusion
  • Seizures

Late in the progression of chronic kidney disease, treatment options are relatively few. Patients are typically on peritoneal dialysis or hemodialysis to filter waste from the body, and those whose kidney damage was caused by pancreatic failure may also be taking insulin. At this point, a patient may be referred for a kidney transplant, pancreas transplant, or both. At Tampa General Hospital, we complete kidney, pancreas, and combined kidney / pancreas transplants for patients who have been diagnosed with stage 5 chronic kidney disease and other serious conditions. A potential transplant candidate must be recommended to our transplant center by their physician or dialysis center staff. Our transplant team will use the information included in our kidney / pancreas transplant referral form and account for other factors before deciding if a kidney and/or pancreas transplant is the most appropriate course for the patient at the time.

If you’d like to learn more about the pancreas transplant criteria that we use when accepting patients with end-stage renal disease, contact Tampa General Hospital’s Pancreas Transplant Program. You can call us toll free at 1-800-505-7769 (press 5 for the pancreas transplant program and ask for the referral coordinator), or contact the coordinator directly at (813) 844-8686.