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Acute Renal Failure May Require an Emergency Pancreas Transplant

Couple posing for the camera Acute renal failure is a condition in which the kidneys suddenly lose their ability to filter waste products from the blood. The process can occur in as little as a few hours, or take as long as one week. (In contrast, when the kidneys stop working gradually over a longer period of time, it is referred to as chronic renal failure.) This can also cause the pancreas to fail. Most patients who go into sudden kidney/pancreas failure are already very ill; the majority of cases are caused by illnesses such as cirrhosis, low blood pressure, or renal vein thrombosis. Other triggers include:

  • Glomerulonephritis
  • Urinary tract obstruction
  • Hemolytic uremic syndrome
  • Heart failure
  • Vasculitis
  • Scleroderma
  • Lupus
  • Sudden traumatic injury

Because acute renal failure develops so quickly, it often requires intensive treatment. Depending on the underlying cause, physicians may prescribe IV fluids or diuretics, temporary dialysis, or medications to balance out calcium and potassium levels. However, in some cases, patients may require an emergency pancreas, kidney, or combined kidney/pancreas transplant. At Tampa General Hospital, we have performed a number of pancreas only and combined kidney/pancreas transplants for patients with renal failure. Physicians or dialysis coordinators may refer a patient to our program for an emergency transplant, and if appropriate criteria are met, we will do our best to accelerate the search for an organ.

For more information about Tampa General Hospital’s Pancreas Transplant Program and our requirements for patients with acute renal failure, contact us at 1-800-505-7769 (press 5 for the pancreas transplant program and ask for the referral coordinator), or call the coordinator directly at (813) 844-8686.