Path-breaking surgery in Pune is newest hope for diabetics

Pancreas and kidney transplant give 28-year-old Type-1 diabetic patient in Pune new lease of life

In what is touted as a first-of-its-kind medical miracle in Maharashtra, a team of doctors at Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital, Pune successfully performed simultaneous pancreas and kidney transplantation surgery on a 28-year old patient early on Monday morning.

The patient, resident of Pune was taken up for the surgery after family of a brain dead patient agreed to donate both kidneys and pancreas.

“Both his kidneys had failed because of his Type 1 diabetes status and uncontrolled blood sugar levels. He had many diabetes related complications like loss of vision, blood vessels getting affected due to fluctuating blood sugar levels. Pancreas and kidney transplant was the only solution,” said Dr Vrushali Patil, abdominal transplant and hepatic surgery expert at the hospital who led the surgery.

Patil said the patient, an MBA holder, lost his job because of his health conditions. “The pancreas-kidney transplant has stopped the progression of the disease and its complications. His blood sugar levels are now normal,” said Patil.

The hospital along with three Mumbai hospitals (Global hospital in Parel, Fortis hospital in Mulund and Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani hospital in Andheri) had procured license for the pancreas transplant six months back. The hospital has four more Type 1 diabetes patients with kidney failure lined up for this path-breaking surgery.

Dr Ravi Mohanka, chief surgeon and head of the department, Liver transplant and Hepato-Biliary Surgery at Global hospitals feels the pancreas transplant is a boon to young type 1 diabetes patients. He said the process of allotment of kidney and pancreas need to be streamlined as a type 1 diabetes patient with kidney failure will require both kidney and pancreas transplant.

“For a type 1 diabetes patient with kidney failure, a combined kidney and pancreas transplant is beneficial. We need to streamline organ allotment procedure and prioritise these patients,” said Dr Mohanka.

It is estimated that India has 97,700 children with Type 1 diabetes. In US, around 1200 pancreas transplants are done in a year for a baseline population of 17.7 million diabetics. Most of these are type diabetics in the age range of 35-49.

“Some centres in abroad, they have started doing pancreas transplants for non-obese type 2 diabetics with low insulin levels with good results. But here, we will begin with type 1 diabetes having kidney failure,” said Dr Vinay Kumaran, head of the department, Liver transplant and Hepato-Biliary Surgery at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani hospital (KDAH).

Pancreas Transplantation

A pancreas transplant is a surgical procedure to place healthy pancreas from a deceased donor into a person whose pancreas no longer functions properly. Almost all pancreas transplants are done to treat type 1 diabetes. Pancreas is an organ that lies behind the lower part of your stomach.

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A transplant of the pancreas is usually reserved for those with serious complications. Pancreas transplants are most often done when a patient also receives a new kidney. The pancreas transplant adds little further risk in this situation and offers big benefits. However, transplant surgery is risky. Each person needs to carefully weigh the potential benefits and risks.

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Benefits of Pancreas Transplants

  • You may be able to maintain a normal blood glucose level without taking insulin
  • Many of the diabetes-related side effects are prevented or delayed
  • Most people with nerve damage who receive a pancreas transplant do not get worse and sometimes show improvement