Your Transplant Options
If you have been diagnosed with intestinal failure, you may benefit from an isolated intestinal or a combined liver/intestine/pancreas(multi-visceral) transplant if:
- You can never discontinue Total Parental Nutrition (TPN)
- You have life-threatening complications from parenteral nutrition.
The type of operation you need will be determined during your transplant evaluation and may include one of the following:
- Isolated intestinal transplantation
- Combined intestine/liver/pancreas transplantation (pancreas is included in combined transplants because of its location in the body)
The Transplant Evaluation Process
Prospective candidates for intestinal transplantation must first undergo a thorough transplant evaluation. The evaluation will help our transplant team learn more about you and your disease. This also gives you the opportunity to learn more about our intestinal transplant team and program.
The evaluation is an important part of the transplant process because it will:
- Confirm your diagnosis and determine the extent of your intestinal injury or disease
- Assess other medical or psychosocial problems affecting your health
- Determine what type of operation is best for you (intestine alone or with other organs)
- Provide information about the risks and benefits of transplantation
- Review your financial benefits and discuss the financial considerations associated with a transplant
- Answer any questions you and your family may have
The transplant evaluation usually takes four to five days. It can be done on an outpatient basis unless your doctor decides an inpatient stay is medically necessary.
Tests You Will Receive
The evaluation includes, but is not limited to, the following tests:
- Blood tests
- Heart tests
- Abdominal ultrasound
- Radiological tests looking at the length and function of the intestine
- Lung function tests for adults
- Complete physical examination
Who You Will Meet
You will also have consultations with transplant team members, including:
- Transplant physician
- Transplant surgeon
- Transplant nurse coordinator
- Social worker
- Financial Coordinator
- Child Life Specialist
- Other specialists as indicated (Cardiology, Pulmonary, Endocrinology, Hematology)
Getting Your Results
Upon completion of the evaluation, your results will be presented at a multidisciplinary transplant team meeting. The team members will carefully review all the information from the evaluation and recommend your best treatment options. A transplant coordinator will contact you after the meeting to discuss your care plan.
Waiting for Your Transplant
If intestinal transplantation or a combined intestine/liver/pancreas (multi-visceral) transplant is the best option for you, and you agree to the surgery, your name will be placed on a national waiting list based on your blood type, body size (height and weight) and medical urgency.
This waiting time can be difficult for you and your family because there is no way to know when a suitable donor organ will become available. Some patients may only wait days or weeks, while others may wait several months or years for a transplant.