Good quesion about the pancreas transplants. That's the most common comment I get about transplants.....that people don't realize they do pancreas transplants. Told you my doc is one of the best! ;). Seriously... he is.
Pancreas transplants are not nearly as common as kidney transplants for a few reasons: .....
1. You can only get a pancreas tranplant from a cadaver donor, while many kidney transplants are done from living donors who will donate one of their kidneys.
2. In addition to the kidneys that come from live donors, a cadaver donor produces 2 kidneys that can be donted. Recipients receive only 1 donated kideny each, so that's why a cadaver donor will help out 2 people. With the "double donation" from cadavers which helps two people, as well as living donors, kidney transplants are fairly common these days. A medium to large transplant center will do well over 100 kidney tranplants in a year, while only doing a few pancreas transplants.
3. Pancreas transplants have a lower success rate than kidneys, and are much more difficult to do, and more difficult to keep from rejecting afterward. Pre-screening of the patient and the guidelines to be able to receive one are much more rigorous.
4. For Type I diabetics (like I was), pancreas transplants are not done in lieu of insulin. Puttng the patient on imunosuppression is not worth the added risks. The patients who receive a pancreas transplant will only do so if they are already going to receive (or have already received) another organ (such as a kidney), and will be on the immunosuppression medications anyway....as was the case for me.
I don't know the answer as to why they are not done in the case of pancreatic cancer. I would guess it's because, in most cases, the cancer has already spread beyond the pancreas. If it hasn't, I imagine just removing the cancerous pancreas, and putting the person on insulin, would be helpful even if not receiving a transplant. Unfortunately, with the nature of pancreatic cancer, and its typical late discovery, it is often too late in most cases.
Best luck to you with your heart issues. That strict salt limitatiom sounds like a tough one. Do diuretics such as Lasix help?
<message edited by Glenn1234 on Fri, 11/11/11 2:01 AM>