During the pancreas transplant evaluation process, you will need to attend several outpatient appointments at Tampa General Hospital. After your dialysis center, nephrologist, or endocrinologist has referred you to our program, the referral coordinator will send the referral information to the transplant coordinator, who will determine if you meet the criteria for an initial consultation. If so, our team will use this first appointment to determine if you require a formal pancreas transplant evaluation. If that is the case, a financial counselor will contact your insurance company to secure authorization for additional visits. During your subsequent pancreas transplant evaluation appointments, you should bring along a family member or friend who can take notes and ask questions, your medications, books or magazines to read in between tests, money for food and drinks, and comfortable clothing and walking shoes.
Potential transplant patients in every TGH transplant program must have certain tests to determine if a transplant is the right treatment for them. This includes tests to detect any diseases that may shorten your lifespan following transplant. You will need blood tests, echocardiograms, electrocardiograms, scans and X-rays, and cancer screenings, and you’ll need to verify that you have been keeping up with routine health care needs. Click here for more information on pancreas transplant requirements. Pancreas transplant patients also will complete the following evaluation procedures:
- Colonoscopy – A doctor will use a flexible camera to check the colon for abnormal growths like polyps and tumors that can lead to serious medical problems such as colorectal cancer. The test can also detect inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), diverticulosis, and other forms of colitis.
- Kidney ultrasound – Sound waves can be used to look for blocked vessels, blood clots, and other problems, and to examine the size and blood vessel structure of the kidney.
- Cardiac stress test – A physician will measure the heart’s ability to respond to external stress induced by exercise or medication within a controlled environment. The test can help compare coronary circulation when the patient is at rest and during maximum physical exertion, and it can indicate any abnormal blood flow issues within the heart. The results reflect the patient’s general physical condition and can also indicate ischemic heart disease.
- Cardiac catheterization – A long, thin, flexible tube (or catheter) is inserted into a blood vessel in the arm, upper thigh, or neck and threaded into your heart. Through this catheter, the doctor can take X-rays of your heart to show if a waxy substance called plaque has built up in your coronary arteries, narrowing or blocking them off.
After your evaluation, our pancreas transplant team will discuss the results at our Medical Review Board. This team will include the various health care providers that you met during your appointments, and it will discuss your test results and any concerns about them. Although you will not be present in this meeting, you will be told if you need additional testing and if you are recommended for a pancreas and/or kidney transplant. If you do not qualify for a transplant after finishing your pancreas transplant evaluation or you choose not to have a transplant, you can discuss other treatment options with our medical team.
Tampa General Hospital's Transplant Institute is ranked #5 in the country by transplant volume, and we are one of the busiest transplant centers in the nation, leading to shorter wait times and better outcomes for our patients.