Before Islet Cell Transplant
The Evaluation Process
Getting a Referral
The evaluation process begins with a referral by your doctor. You can initiate the process by contacting our referral coordinator at 800.543.8814. 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 relevant insurers.
If patients meet certain criteria for the study, they will get a packet of information and a list of requested diagnostic tests in the mail. The packet also includes a draft consent form that explains the procedure, the potential benefits, the risks and the costs of islet cell transplantation.
The diagnostic tests may include:
- Cardiac stress test
- Chest X-ray
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)
- Dental and eye exams
- Pap smear test
- Urine and blood tests
Many of these tests can be performed by your own doctor.
If a patient is still a candidate after these tests, an appointment will be made for a formal overnight evaluation visit to the General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) at the UVA.
This evaluation includes a review of the consent form and study requirements. Once the consent form is signed, the patient will be seen by the study coordinator, a study physician, a social worker and an endocrinologist.
Various medical diagnostic tests will be performed. These may include:
- An oral glucose tolerance test (which will require IV insulin)
- Collection of glucose data through a continuous 72-hour glucose monitor
- An updated chest X-ray and EKG (if needed)
- Liver ultrasound
- Blood and urine tests
The Costs of Islet Cell Transplant
Because islet cell transplantation is conducted as part of a federally supported study, the overnight evaluation, the inpatient transplant stay and the islet cells used during the transplant procedure are paid for by the study grant.
What you pay for: The cost of the anti-rejection drugs following the transplant.
Waiting for a Transplant
After the evaluation is completed, all test results will be reviewed with the study doctors. Patients who are appropriate candidates are placed on the waiting list with United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), a national, federally regulated, non-profit service service charged with the distribution of organs (in this case, one or more pancreas). UNOS uses a complex set of factors to ensure availability and distribution of organs is handled fairly and promotes the greatest benefit from a precious medical resource.