Patients with type 1 diabetes may be eligible for a pancreas transplant if they meet the following criteria:
- Kidney failure requiring dialysis and transplant
- Prior kidney transplant that is functioning well
- Difficulty managing blood sugar levels despite best efforts
- Hypoglycemic unawareness (no longer have typical symptoms of low blood sugar)
Based on the criteria above, there are several types of pancreas transplants that a patient may be eligible for:
Simultaneous Pancreas and Kidney Transplantation: an option for patients who need a kidney transplant but do not have a living donor. Patients are placed on the deceased donor waiting list for a donor that can provide both organs.
Pancreas after Kidney Transplantation: for patients who have already received a kidney transplant (usually from a living donor) and qualify for a pancreas transplant due to inability to control their diabetes despite aggressive medical care. These patients often experience hypoglycemic unawareness, a dangerous complication of diabetes. The pancreas transplant usually occurs at least 6 months after the kidney transplant was performed, and the patient then has organs from 2 separate donors.
Solitary Pancreas Transplantation: for patients without kidney disease who have life-threatening complications of diabetes, such as hypoglycemic unawareness.