Loma Linda University Medical Center (LLUMC) Transplantation Institute has extensive experience in pancreas and kidney-pancreas transplants, providing patients and their families with compassionate whole-person care. Our multidisciplinary Pancreas Transplant Team consists of specially trained medical professionals who manage each individual patient’s care before, during and after transplant.
To be considered as a candidate for solitary pancreas or kidney-pancreas transplantation, patients must undergo a thorough evaluation at the Transplantation Institute An evaluation helps us learn more about you and your condition to decide if pancreas transplant is a safe and beneficial option. The initial visit consists of a physical evaluation, a psycho-social evaluation, laboratory tests and financial consultation. You and your family will also attend a transplant information class.
The series of tests performed during a patient evaluation include:
- Recent medical history and physical exam
- Blood tests (e.g. tissue typing, blood typing, antibody screening, viral testing)
- Chest x-ray
- EKG (electrocardiogram)
- Renal/abdominal ultrasound
- Dental evaluation
- Mammogram (women only)
- Gynecological examination and PAP smear (women only)
Upon completion, the Patient Selection Committee will discuss your case. The Committee includes transplant surgeons, a nephrologist, transplant coordinators, a financial coordinator, an immunologist and transplant social worker, who will discuss any concerns to determine if you are eligible for the organ donor waiting list. If you are considered a good candidate, a transplant coordinator or surgeon will contact you. Then your name will be placed or “activated”, on the national organ donor waiting list UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing).
Waiting for an Organ
All patients approved for transplant are immediately listed for pancreas and / or kidney-pancreas on the national database at UNOS. UNOS is the national agency formed to help match and distribute deceased or cadaver organs equally to patients waiting for transplant. The amount of time you wait for a pancreas or kidney-pancreas transplant varies, depending on factors such as blood and tissue type, medical condition, availability and the number of other patients on the waiting list.
Waiting for your transplant is a stressful time. The Transplantation Institute will touch base regularly. But please contact us at anytime if you need help and support. Also, notify the transplant coordinator immediately if any of the following occur prior to your transplant :
- Blood transfusion
- Telephone number or address change
- Planned vacation or trip
- Change in medical insurance
- Change in health status
When a compatible donor pancreas and / or kidney become available, the transplant surgeon or coordinator will contact you. You will need to visit the hospital immediately. Be prepared not to eat or drink within hours of the phone call since your surgery will be performed as soon as possible.
Upon being admitted to the hospital, you will undergo several tests and an evaluation to make sure you are prepped for surgery. An IV (intravenous) line is inserted and immunosuppressive medications are administered to protect you from infection.
The operation typically takes anywhere from three to six hours. For a solitary pancreas transplant, the surgeon will make an incision about six to eight inches long down the center of your abdomen, then place the donor pancreas near the bladder in the middle or right side of your pelvis. Your transplant surgeon will monitor signs to ensure the new organ is healthy with good blood supply.
After surgery, you will stay in the hospital for about a week. Within a day, the Pancreas Transplant Team will help you walk to prevent complications, build your strength and speed up your recovery. You should be able to sip liquids the day of your surgery and resume a normal diet within three days. Before leaving the Transplantation Institute, the staff will instruct you on medications, diet, signs of rejection or infection and everything you need to know to stay healthy.
Following your discharge from the hospital, you might feel less discomfort from the incision become mobile and return to normal activities. You will require follow-up visits and lab tests to monitor your progress to see how the new pancreas and / or kidney are working.
You play an important part in making your pancreas or kidney-pancreas transplant a success. Throughout your recovery, become an active participant in preserving your health by monitoring certain vital signs including body temperature, blood pressure and body weight on a regular basis. Be sure to take medications appropriately and responsibly for the rest of your life to prevent rejection of the pancreas and / or kidney. As you continue through your transplant journey, LLUMC will continue to provide extraordinary care and support by checking in with you.
With the accessibility of our facilities and ease of scheduling an appointment, LLUMC’s compassionate staff is dedicated to providing you with whole-person care. Our commitment to the well-being of your mind, body and spirit begins with your request for an appointment. Make an appointment by calling us toll-free at 1-800-548-3790 or locally at 909-558-3636, by filling out our online request form or by visiting our facilities today..
Download additional educational materials
Transplant Patient - English
Transplant Patient - Spanish
Transplant Welcome Packet
Click here to visit our resources page for additional helpful information.
Pancreas Educational Manuel - English
Pancreas Educational Manuel - Spanish