The first Simultaneous Pancreas Kidney (SPK) transplantation in the state of Kerala was performed on a 35-year-old Civil Engineer at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi on August 17, 2014. This is the third such successful surgery in India.

The recipient, hailing from Palakkad, has had Type 1 Diabetes for the past 16 years and had developed diabetic retinopathy, diabetic nephropathy and end-stage renal failure over the past two years. Despite using an insulin pump, he had recurrent episodes of low blood sugar on a daily basis which was preventing him from effectively doing his work. Following the surgery, his blood sugars are normal on a normal diet and his diabetes has been cured.  The kidney function has also normalized.

The combined procedure of transplanting both kidney and pancreas in a single surgical operation is particularly effective for patients who have Type 1 Diabetes and chronic renal failure.  If the kidney alone is transplanted and the diabetes is poorly controlled, then even the transplanted kidney will slowly be affected by the high blood sugar levels. 

The main advantage of this combined transplantation is improvement in quality of life and freedom from diabetes-related complications and dialysis. It also avoids frequent blood sugar testing and occurrence of life threatening hypoglycemia.

This technically complex surgery was made possible by the excellent teamwork of a multidisciplinary team involving Transplant Surgery, Nephrology, Urology, Endocrinology and Anaesthesia & Critical Care at Amrita. Able assistance was provided by the Nursing Services and other supporting departments.

The donor was a 38-year-old brain dead patient. The organ donation was facilitated by the Kerala Network for Organ Sharing (KNOS), the Kerala Government’s Nodal Agency for Organ Retrieval and Sharing.

September 5, 2014
Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi

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