What to expect from your pancreas transplant evaluation

To be considered as a candidate for a kidney and pancreas or pancreas-only transplantat, you will first undergo a thorough transplant evaluation. The evaluation will help our transplant team learn more about you and your disease. It also gives you the opportunity to learn more about our transplant team and program.

Examinations and Tests

During this process, the transplant physicians will be looking for medical and/or emotional conditions that would affect the chances for a successful transplant.This evaluation is very thorough and will include:

  • Blood tests
  • Heart tests
  • Ultrasound
  • Dental exam
  • Complete physical exam

 

Consultations with Transplant Team

During the evaluation process, you will meet with several members of the transplant team, including a:

  • Transplant coordinator
  • Transplant surgeon
  • Transplant nephrologist
  • Psychologist
  • Social worker
  • Transplant financial counselor
  • Transplant pharmacy counselor
  • Dietician

These visits will help the transplant team determine if there are special concerns that you or your family may have regarding the transplant and what type of support is needed for a successful transplant outcome.

Lab Tests

The following blood work will also be performed as a part of the transplant evaluation process:

  • Blood Testing -- This will include samples for ABO, Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) Tissue Typing and Cytotoxic Antibodies.
  • ABO -- This test shows your blood type (A, B, AB, O). Your blood type needs to match or be compatible with the blood type of the donor.
  • HLA Tissue Typing -- HLA reveals a set of antigens. Antigens are inherited from each parent. The HLA typing helps the transplant surgeon to find the best match with a potential donor.
  • Cytotoxic Antibodies -- This test will show the level of antibodies that have formed against certain antigens. An antibody occurs from being exposed to other tissues or blood. This exposure can come from events such as blood transfusions, delivery of a baby or previous transplants.If the antibody level is high, it may be more difficult to find a compatible match with a donor, which could extend your time waiting for a transplant.

The transplant coordinator will arrange for you to have a sample of blood drawn once a month and sent to the Transplant Center. This is done to monitor the levels of antibodies in your blood and to cross match your blood when a potential donor becomes available. All of these steps improve your chances of having a successful transplant and reduce the risk of possible complications that could arise after surgery.

Waiting for Transplantation

The amount of time you wait for a transplant varies depending upon the blood type, antibody level, medical condition, number of other patients on the waiting list and the availability of donor organs. Some patients have waited only one day; others have waited months to years.