Before a Pancreas Transplant

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Start With a Referral

The evaluation process begins with a referral from your family doctor or endocrinologist. 

Or you can self-refer. Call, and the coordinator will collect basic medical information, and our financial counselor will contact you to provide advice on basic financial questions and begin contact with your insurers.

The Evaluation Process

The next step is an evaluation at our transplant clinic. We like to receive medical records before this visit. These records may include:

  • Your medical and physical history
  • Any recent diagnostic studies, such as chest X-ray, heart test or blood work

We will work with your referring physician to get this information.

The evaluation will take several hours. It includes an informal group discussion about various aspects of a pancreas transplant. You’ll then meet individually with members of the transplant team, including a:

  • Transplant endocrinologist
  • Nurse coordinator
  • Financial coordinator
  • Social worker 
  • Nutritionist

Our transplant team reviews your evaluation to consider your eligibility for placement on the national waiting list. We will also recommend a treatment plan for your continued care.

Waiting for an Organ

The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), a federally regulated, non-profit organization, manages the national organ waiting list. UNOS uses a complex set of factors to make distributions fair.

A pancreas is distributed based on several factors, including a biological match between donor and recipient and the amount of time you've been on the waiting list.

The wait time for a pancreas in our region from a deceased donor is three to five years. The transplant surgery must occur within hours of the pancreas becoming available. You must be easily accessible to the clinical staff in order to ensure that an offer of an organ can be accepted in time. Each transplant center is given limited time to accept an organ offer.