Pancreas Transplant frequently asked questions

Reading time: 2 min
Can anyone be a pancreas donor?

Yes, anyone can be an organ donor. However, in this case, only donors with a maximum age of 55 are accepted, due to the properties of the pancreas. 

Is there a maximum age for a recipient of a pancreas transplant?

Yes, due to the scarcity of pancreas donors and the surgical risks of the operation, it has been agreed that candidates for pancreas transplantation should not exceed 60 years of age.

Why is a double transplant - of pancreas and kidney - performed?

Because pancreas transplant candidates are people who have had diabetes for many years. In addition, they all need dialysis due to chronic renal failure as a consequence of their diabetes. Thus, a double transplant is chosen, so the kidney failure is corrected at the same time as the diabetes.

Is a pancreas transplant suitable for patients with diabetes mellitus without kidney disease?

Pancreas transplantation can also be indicated in selected patients with brittle diabetes mellitus, type 1. These patients have frequent episodes of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) which are not controlled by optimal insulin therapy (including continuous glucose monitors and insulin pumps). It is also indicated if they have more than one hospital admission in the year due to severe hypoglycaemia or uncontrolled glycaemia during a hospital admission.

After a pancreas transplant, do I need to control my diet like a diabetic patient does?

Diet control after pancreas transplantation is essential to prolong graft function and to prevent both complications associated with poor metabolic control and weight gain. Although patients do not need to monitor their diet strictly after a transplant, they must maintain a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet guided by a nutritionist.

If the pancreatic graft is rejected, does it mean I will lose the transplanted organ?

Rejection is common after a pancreas transplant, affecting up to 30% of all transplant recipients. It is most common during the first few months, but it can happen any time after the transplant (up to 20 years later). Most rejections can be treated with high doses of cortisone and other immunosuppressants, and most grafts continue to function long after rejection.

Substantiated information by:

Antonio Amor
Beatriz Enriqueta Bayés Genís
Federico Cofan  Pujol
Fritz Diekmann
Joana Ferrer Fàbrega
Mireia Musquera Felip
Pedro Ventura Abreu Aguiarà
Ramon Rull

Published: 28 March 2023
Updated: 28 March 2023


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