As per research, pancreas transplants are considered successful. Based on 2004-2015 data, patient survival rates for different subtypes of pancreatic transplant ranged from 96 to 99% at 1 year, 89 to 91% at 5 years, and 70 to 80% at 10 years postoperatively. The majority of deaths in the first three months after the transplant were due to cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease. Five-year pancreas graft survival for different types of pancreatic transplants was approximately between 53 and 73%.
Occasionally, the transplant isn’t successful, and the pancreas may need to be removed. This happens to 1 in 10 (10%) of patients in the first year. Even though the concept of pancreas transplantation had been around for decades, it was only in the late 1960s that doctors began to see successful outcomes from combined kidney and pancreas transplants.
On the downside, patients who received a combined pancreas and kidney transplants did run a greater risk of death during or immediately after surgery than those who underwent kidney transplants alone. This led critics of pancreas transplantation to characterize the procedure as experimental and even dangerous. Gradually, however, the success rate of pancreas transplantation has improved.
As per Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, Pancreas and Kidney Transplant survival rates, the likelihood of a successful simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplant after five years of transplant stand at about 73%. The success rate of a pancreas-after-kidney transplant after five years post-transplant is about 65% and pancreas-only transplant after five years is about 53%.
Why is pancreas transplant required?
The goals of pancreas transplantation include:
- Curing diabetes and to allow insulin independence
- Improve the quality of life
- Reduce secondary complications
Pancreas transplantation is most often performed with simultaneous kidney transplantation in selected patients with type I diabetes and end-stage kidney disease, who will already be required to take immunosuppressive therapy for the kidney graft. The pancreas requires some surgical reconstruction, using donor blood vessels, to enable it to be then transplanted. Three joins are performed on two arteries and a vein, prior to commencing the recipient surgery. This so-called “back table” surgery is crucial and takes one and a half to two hours in duration. The recipient surgery is often performed using a lower midline incision, with the pancreas joined to the artery and vein on the right side of the pelvis and then the kidney joined to the vessels on the left.
The pancreas is located in the upper area of the abdomen and is an important part of your digestive system. Some of the functions of your pancreas include:
- Insulin production
- Glucose control
- Exocrine (digestive juice) secretion
Types of pancreas transplantation include:
- Pancreas-Alone Transplant: This procedure is also known as pancreatic islet transplantation. Islets are important cells of the pancreas. This procedure is performed on patients who have type I diabetes with severe symptoms and poor-quality life.
- Simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplant (SPK): This procedure involves transplanting the pancreas and kidney simultaneously.
- Pancreas-after-kidney transplant: This is done after kidney transplantation; the necessity of the pancreas will be determined by the doctor depending on the patients’ health.
- Simultaneous Cadaveric Donor Pancreas and Liver Donor kidney: This procedure is beneficial because the odds of delayed graft function are lower than SPK, and it has reduced the waiting period, resulting in better results. During the procedure, the recipient’s infected pancreas is left as it is, and a healthy pancreas from the donor is placed in the front part of the abdomen and attached to the blood vessels in the lower abdomen. The donor’s duodenum is connected to either the recipient’s intestine or bladder so that the pancreas functions.
What is the recovery period after pancreas transplant?
What are the risks involved in pancreas transplant?
Pancreas transplantation is major surgery, and risks should be noted prior to proceeding with the surgery. Risks include:
- Reactions to medicines
- Breathing problems
- Thrombosis (Clotting) of the arteries or veins of the new pancreas
- Development of certain cancers after a few years
- Pancreatitis (swelling of the pancreas)
- Leakage of fluid from the new pancreas where it attaches to the intestine or bladder
- Rejection of the new pancreas
- Excessive bleeding
- Failure or rejection of the donor pancreas
- Immunosuppressive drugs side effects
The side effects of immunosuppressive drugs are as follows:
Pancreas transplant: (https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003007.htm)
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Common Medical Abbreviations & Terms
Doctors, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals use abbreviations, acronyms, and other terminology for instructions and information in regard to a patient's health condition, prescription drugs they are to take, or medical procedures that have been ordered. There is no approved this list of common medical abbreviations, acronyms, and terminology used by doctors and other health- care professionals. You can use this list of medical abbreviations and acronyms written by our doctors the next time you can't understand what is on your prescription package, blood test results, or medical procedure orders. Examples include:
- ANED: Alive no evidence of disease. The patient arrived in the ER alive with no evidence of disease.
- ARF: Acute renal (kidney) failure
- cap: Capsule.
- CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. A treatment for sleep apnea.
- DJD: Degenerative joint disease. Another term for osteoarthritis.
- DM: Diabetes mellitus. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- HA: Headache
- IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease. A name for two disorders of the gastrointestinal (BI) tract, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- JT: Joint
- N/V: Nausea or vomiting.
- p.o.: By mouth. From the Latin terminology per os.
- q.i.d.: Four times daily. As in taking a medicine four times daily.
- RA: Rheumatoid arthritis
- SOB: Shortness of breath.
- T: Temperature. Temperature is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the "vital signs."
digestive enzymesDigestive enzymes are natural substances that help the digestive system break down food. Taken as a supplement, digestive enzymes may be used to treat adults and children with pancreatic insufficiency caused by cystic fibrosis, chronic pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), pancreatectomy (removal of all or part of the pancreas), or pancreatic cancer. Common side effects of digestive enzymes include headache, neck pain, dizziness, abdominal cramping, nausea, diarrhea, gas (flatulence), indigestion, abnormal stools, and others. Do not take if you have acute pancreatitis.
Digestive Enzymes OralOral digestive enzymes are found in the digestive tract, are naturally produced by the body, and help breakdown the foods we eat. The pancreas makes and secretes digestive enzymes. Prescription and OTC digestive enzymes are available in PEPs or pancreatic enzyme products. PEPs are prescribed for people with cystic fibrosis, chronic pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer or tumors, Shwachman-Diamond syndrome, or removal of part or all of the pancreas. Side effects include life-threatening allergic reactions, difficulty breathing or talking, swelling of the mouth/face/lips/tongue/throat, chest tightness, rash or hives, itching, red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; wheezing.
mycophenolateMycophenolate is an immunosuppressant medication used to prevent rejection of transplant organs (heart, kidney, and liver). Common side effects of mycophenolate include high or low blood pressure (hypertension or hypotension), exacerbation of hypertension, rapid heart rate (tachycardia), swelling (edema), lower extremity edema, peripheral edema, blood clot formation (thrombosis), inflammation of the vein (phlebitis), high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), diabetes mellitus, high cholesterol level in the blood (hypercholesterolemia), high level of blood fats (hyperlipidemia), high uric acid level in the blood (hyperuricemia), high or low blood potassium levels (hyperkalemia/hypokalemia), and others. Mycophenolate can cause fetal harm and should not be used in pregnant women. Do not use if breastfeeding.
Pancreas divisum is a common congenital anomaly (an anomaly that is present at birth) of the pancreatic duct(s). The human embryo starts life with two ducts in the pancreas; the ventral duct and the dorsal duct. In more than 90% of the embryos, the dorsal and the ventral ducts will fuse to form one main pancreatic duct. In approximately 10% of embryos, the dorsal and the ventral ducts fail to fuse. Failure of the ventral and the dorsal pancreatic ducts to fuse is called pancreas divisum (because the pancreas is drained by two ducts). In pancreas divisum, the ventral duct drains into the major papilla, while the dorsal duct drains into a separate minor papilla. The majority of individuals born with pancreas divisum experience no symptoms throughout life, will remain undiagnosed and will not require treatment. A small number of patients with pancreas divisum will experience repeated episodes of pancreatitis.
Pancreatic CancerPancreatic cancer is a malignant tumor of the pancreas. Pancreatic cancer has been called a "silent" disease because early pancreatic cancer usually does not cause early symptoms. Typically, pancreatic cancer has metastasized (spread to adjacent organs, such as the liver) by the time most people receive a dignosis of pancreatic cancer. Symptoms and signs usually appear later in the course of the disease and include jaundice, back pain, nausea, weight loss, itching, and loss of appetite. Treatment depends upon the type of pancreatic cancer but may include surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy.
Pancreatic Cancer PictureAn abdominal CT scan shows a small, vaguely seen 2-cm pancreatic adenocarcinoma (mass) causing obstruction of both the common bile duct (cbd) and pancreatic duct (pd). See a picture of Pancreatic Cancer and learn more about the health topic.
Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms, Causes, and TreatmentLearn about pancreatic cancer signs, symptoms, causes, statistics, treatments (chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, biological therapy) and their side effects on of malignant tumors of the pancreas.
Pancreatic CystsPancreatic cysts are collections of fluid within the pancreas. Some are benign, malignant, or pseudocysts. There are two major types of pancreatic cysts, 1) pseudocysts (inflammatory) and 2) true cysts (non-inflammatory). Symptoms of pancreatic cysts include abdominal pain, jaundice, fever, chills, and sepsis. Treatment depends on the type of cyst, and patient health.
Symptoms of Your Pancreas Not Working ProperlySigns that your pancreas is not working properly include pain in the upper abdomen that spreads to the back and worsens while eating and drinking. Learn about other signs of pancreas problems.
What Can Cure Pancreatitis?Learn what medical treatments can help to cure your pancreatitis and speed up your recovery.
What Is the Function of the Pancreas in the Body?A healthy pancreas produces substances that are required for digestion and the breakdown of food.