Pancreas Transplantation

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Dr. Carlton Young in postop clinic with a pancreas transplant recipient, now insulin free!

 

Program Highlights

In the past 15 years, over 250 patients have undergone pancreas transplantation at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. We currently offer both simultaneous pancreas-kidney (SPK) and pancreas-after-kidney transplants (PAK). The median time to transplant is 12.5 months for SPK. For patients with living kidney donors, we will often recommend proceeding with kidney transplantation, followed by PAK.  We are also in the process of developing a pancreas transplant alone (PTA) program for Type I diabetics with normal kidney function. We provide transplant care to patients from Alabama and throughout the southeastern United States. UAB is the only transplant center within the Alabama Organ Center, which boasts a donation rate of 30 per million-population and a conversion rate of 81%, both of which are much higher than reported national averages.

 

Outcomes

As reported by the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients, our one-year kidney graft survival is 100%, and one-year pancreas graft survival is 89% following SPK.  One-year pancreas graft survival following PAK is 85%. One-year patient survival in both cohorts is 100%.

 

Patient-Centered Approach

Patients are cared for by a multidisciplinary team that includes surgeons, transplant nephrologistspre-transplant coordinatorspost-transplant coordinators, physician assistants, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, and therapists. From the beginning of the evaluation process, through to the transplant and aftercare beyond, this dedicated team of individuals provides an outstanding level of care to our patients. The evaluation of patients for pancreas transplantation is accomplished in a single day in the outpatient setting, streamlining the process by bringing all members of the team to the patient in one location.

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Facilities

Pancreas transplants are performed in UAB's new, state-of-the-art operating complex.  A 22 bed surgical intensive care unit is available for the initial post-operative care of pancreas recipients. Within 1 to 2 days, patients are transferred to our dedicated post-transplant care unit. Following discharge, out-of-town patients stay at the UAB Townhouse, a converted hotel that provides patients with a measure of independence, but also easy and convenient access to transplant aftercare during the early postoperative period. The pancreas transplant clinic is located within the main hospital, in close proximity to laboratory and radiology services.