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Severe Renal Disease May Require a Pancreas Transplant for Treatment

Physician monitoring patient's vital signs Chronic kidney disease can eventually progress to end-stage renal disease, a condition in which the kidneys can no longer perform their functions. Working kidneys are necessary to filter waste products from the blood and regulate chemicals within the body. The function of kidneys is also closely connected to the operations performed by the pancreas, and both organs may be negatively affected or even fail through the course of renal disease. In fact, the failure of a pancreas due to injury or illness can often be the direct cause of renal disease. When the pancreas fails, it can no longer produce the insulin needed to regulate the level of sugar in the blood, a condition that can severely damage the kidneys and cause renal failure. When the kidneys begin to lose their function, it can cause many symptoms, including:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Problems sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swelling (edema) of the feet or ankles

To treat the symptoms of renal disease and the underlying pancreatic issues, physicians often recommend that their patients make lifestyle changes, such as maintaining healthier diets that are low in fat and salt, exercising regularly, and keeping an eye on blood pressure and blood sugar levels. For patients who have experienced severe renal insufficiency that prevents the organs from serving their functions - dialysis treatment may be advised. A kidney and/or pancreas transplant may be an option for patients whose kidney problems have progressed to end-stage renal disease. At Tampa General Hospital, we perform kidney, pancreas, and combination kidney/pancreas transplants for patients who have been referred to us by their dialysis center or nephrologist. We evaluate each patient individually to determine if a transplant is the best treatment option. In general, chronic kidney disease patients admitted into our transplant program are already on dialysis, although we sometimes advise a kidney and/or pancreas transplant as preemptive treatment for individuals not yet on dialysis but who meet other prognostic criteria.

To learn more about selection criteria for patients with renal disease and other conditions that are appropriate for transplant at Tampa General Hospital - please call 1-800-505-7769 (press 5 for the pancreas transplant program and ask for the referral coordinator), or contact the coordinator directly at (813) 844-8686.