Where does my new organ come from?

Organs for pancreas transplant come from deceased donors. Patients needing a kidney-pancreas transplant will usually get both organs from the same deceased donor. In some circumstances, however, patients needing a kidney-pancreas transplant may get a living donor kidney transplant followed by a deceased donor pancreas transplant.

Deceased Donor Pancreas Transplant:

A deceased donor is an individual who has recently passed away of causes not affecting the organ intended for transplant. Deceased donor organs usually come from people who have decided to donate their organs before death by signing organ donor cards. Permission for donation also may be given by the deceased person’s family at the time of death.

A deceased donor pancreas transplant occurs when a pancreas is taken from a deceased donor and is surgically transplanted into the body of a recipient whose natural pancreas is diseased or not functioning properly.

Types of deceased donor organs

There are several different types of deceased donor organs. These names are used to describe certain anatomic, biological, and social features of the donor organs. You may decide not to receive any or all of these organs, and you may change your mind at any time.

  • Standard Criteria Donors (SCD): These organs are from donors under age 50 and do not meet any of the criteria below that are assigned to Expanded Criteria Donors.
  • Expanded Criteria Donors (ECD): These organs come from donors over age 60 or age 50-59 that also have at least two of the following criteria - history of high blood pressure, the donor passed away from a CVA (stroke) or had a creatinine higher than the normal laboratory value (1.5 mg/dl). About 15-20% of the donors in the United States are Expanded Criteria.
  • Donation after Cardiac Death (DCD): These donors do not meet the standard criteria for brain death. Their hearts stopped before the organs were removed. Donation after Cardiac Death occurs when continuing medical care is futile, and the donor patient is to be removed from all medical life-sustaining measures/supports.
  • Donors with High-Risk Social Behavior: These donors are individuals who at some point in their life practiced high-risk behavior for sexually transmitted disease, drug use, or were incarcerated. All of these donors are tested for transmissible disease at the time of organ recovery. You will be informed of the high-risk behavior.

All of these organs supply suitable organs for transplant, and all are expected to provide good outcomes with good organ function. However, the outcomes may be 5-10% less than that achieved with Standard Criteria organs.