Bronx Pancreas Transplant Program

Posted on March 22, 2010, 8:17 am
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The only pancreas transplant program in the Bronx and Westchester, and one of only several in Greater New York, Montefiore Medical Center’s new pancreas transplant program will treat patients with severe, end-stage diabetes.

The program, along with existing kidney and liver transplant programs, is on Montefiore’s Moses campus in the Bronx in a newly renovated site that houses the abdominal transplant division.

“The Bronx represents a well-documented high-risk community with a higher-than-average incidence of diabetes and diabetes secondary complications, so there is a critical need here for a first-rate pancreas transplant program,” the program’s director, transplant specialist Javier Chapochnick Friedmann, MD, said in a news release.

When the pancreas does not function well and produces too little insulin, blood sugar levels can rise dangerously, leading to diabetes. For many patients, insulin shots are the answer. For the select few who develop severe diabetes with complications, such as heart problems, a pancreas/kidney transplant may be lifesaving. “A pancreas transplant is reserved for those patients with diabetes who cannot be controlled by standard treatment,” Friedmann said. “When a transplant is necessary, however, the results are excellent.”

There are 1,400 pancreas transplants performed each year in the U.S. Most patients who receive a pancreas transplant also receive a kidney transplant. Between 75% and 80% of these dual-transplant procedures are done simultaneously in one operation. A lesser but growing number of patients first receive a kidney transplant and then later, in a separate operation, a pancreas transplant. Montefiore’s program has nine patients medically approved and waiting for a pancreas transplant.

There are about 1 million patients with diabetes in the state of New York and an additional 450,000 who do not know they have diabetes.

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