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Conditions Leading to Pancreas Transplant

The pancreas is an organ that produces and releases the hormone insulin, which helps the body convert glucose (sugar) into energy. When the pancreas fails to produce insulin, blood sugar levels increase and type 1 diabetes develops. This condition can have a significant impact on your quality of life.

Specialists at the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Transplant Center offer pancreas transplants for type 1 diabetes, providing relief from diabetes complications and improving quality of life. The procedure may be an option if you have one of these forms of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes with hypoglycemia unawareness: With type 1 diabetes, your blood sugar level can become low, a condition called hypoglycemia. With hypoglycemia unawareness, you can’t tell when your blood sugar drops, making it harder to regulate your blood sugar. Untreated hypoglycemia can lead to seizures and blackouts, requiring hospitalization.
  • Brittle diabetes (type 1 diabetes with severe hypoglycemia or hyperglcyemia): If you don’t control type 1 diabetes well, you may have instances of severe hypoglycemia, or very low blood sugar. You may also have episodes of severe hyperglycemia, or very high blood sugar. You may even swing back and forth between these two extremes. All of these conditions can require hospitalization. 
  • Type 1 diabetes with kidney failure: If you have type 1 diabetes that has led to kidney failure, you may be eligible for a combined kidney-pancreas transplant or a pancreas-after-kidney transplant.
  • Cystic fibrosis with type 1 diabetes: If you have cystic fibrosis and type 1 diabetes, you may be eligible for a combined lung/pancreas transplant. Barnes-Jewish Hospital specialists have the surgical expertise to perform this complex procedure.

Contact Us

For more information about pancreas transplant or to schedule a transplant evaluation, call 855.925.0631.