Have tried insulin treatment, but it has failed to prevent acute complications, like ketoacidosis
Have severe emotional problems due to insulin treatment
Have frequent, potentially life-threatening complications, like repeatedly getting pneumonia
Kidney damage is a common complication of type 1 diabetes. Many people with diabetes end up with kidney failure that requires regular
In most cases, a pancreas transplant is done along with a kidney transplant. There is good evidence that quality of life significantly improves if these two transplants are done together.
Some doctors, though, do transplant only the pancreas. This is done in cases where the patient does not have kidney failure. Compared to pancrease-kidney transplant, the benefits of just a pancreas transplant are not as clear.
If you receive one or more transplanted organs, you will need to take immunosuppressive drugs for the rest of your life. These drugs prevent the immune system from attacking your new organ. However, these drugs have many severe side effects, including
high blood pressure, hearing loss, nausea, gastric
ulcers, and bacterial and viral infections.
Also, some of these drugs may increase your blood sugar level.
Islet Cell Transplant
There has been a great deal of research into islet cell transplant. Islets are a mass of cells located in the pancreas. Only 1%-2% of the pancreas is made of islet cells. About 75%-80% of these are beta cells, which are the cells that normally produce insulin. Alpha cells make glucagon, a hormone that raises blood sugar. Transplanting islets are technically easier to transplant than an entire pancreas.
Unfortunately, beta cells are very fragile. Many do not survive the transplant procedure. In addition, the immunosuppressive drugs seem to impair the insulin-producing ability of the new cells and cause many side effects. Researchers are investigating the best ways to transplant islet cells.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a