Post Pancreas Transplant Process
Although the hospitalization is
relatively short following pancreas and pancreas-kidney transplantation,
our physicians and staff will continue to monitor our recent transplant
recipients very closely in the clinic. Patients enjoy the comfort of
home as they recover, yet still receive the medical attention they need
at our clinic.
Clinic visits are scheduled weekly or
twice weekly during the early period after transplant, and the time
between visits will be increased according to the patient's needs.
Patients from outside the Greater Houston area should plan to stay in
Houston for 2-3 weeks after transplant to ensure that this close
follow-up is possible.
The goal of pancreas or pancreas-kidney
transplantation is to return patients to a full, satisfying quality of
life since they are off insulin and no longer have strict dietary and
travel restrictions. Many patients go back to school, work and
activities they enjoyed prior to having organ failure.
Patients can enjoy drinking as much water
as they want and not worry about potassium and phosphorous in their
food. Additionally, if the patient's blood sugars are normal post
transplant, they can now eat carbohydrates. They are able to exercise
and participate in sports, though contact sports are not recommended
because the transplant could get injured.
Women and men are able to have children,
but it is recommended that women inform the Transplant Center months
prior to trying to conceive that they want to have a baby. The
Transplant Center will inform the woman if she is healthy enough to
carry the baby safely. Some of the immunosuppressive medications will
have to be adjusted because they could hurt the baby.
Many people find that they easily gain
weight after transplant. This is partially because of the
immunosuppression drug regimen and also because patients feel better and
therefore, have a better appetite. Additionally, food also tastes
better for patients because their blood is being cleaned far better than
it ever was on dialysis and their senses function more appropriately.
Since it is very easy to gain weight
after transplant, the Transplant Center has a dietician that councils
the patients on proper diet and exercise and encourages a healthy active
lifestyle that involves no tobacco, illegal drug, or excessive alcohol
use. This should help extend the life of the pancreas, kidney and the
After 6 months to 1 year after
transplant, the patient will be referred back to see his/her original
nephrologist and/or endocrinologist. This is done so that the patient
can always have an expert physician following them for their transplant
near their home or work. The patient typically sees his/her nephrologist
or endocrinologist 2-4 times a year.
The nephrologist or endocrinologist will
address problems with hypertension, diabetes, and worsening
pancreas-kidney function if the transplant is failing. The Transplant
Center will continue to see the patient annually and get labs every 3-4
months to monitor the patient. The Transplant Center communicates with
the patient's nephrologist openly to provide optimal joint care for the
Transplantation can sometimes seem
overwhelming for patients. The Transplant Center offers a transplant
support group that is run by our transplant social workers. The support
group meets monthly and encompasses patients who are both waiting for a
transplant and those who have already received a transplant.
Every other month, a guest speaker is
invited to talk about a topic of interest to the group. In between, the
support group functions in a more traditional way where patients share
their experiences, provide insightful help and recommendations, ask
questions, and form relationships with other patients going through
similar issues. Adult family members, friends, and caregivers are
welcome and encouraged to come with the patient.