MAYWOOD, IL – Loyola Medicine's solid organ transplant program has reached another major milestone with the successful performance of its first pancreas transplant.
The transplant was performed July 30 on Anthony Law, a 61-year-old Type 1 diabetes patient.
Mr. Law had "brittle" diabetes, characterized by extreme, life-threatening swings in blood sugar levels.
Since his transplant, Mr. Law's blood sugar levels have been steady. He no longer has to take insulin and has not experienced life-threatening hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Mr. Law's blood sugars are now within the normal, non-diabetic range.
The pancreas transplant program is headed by medical director Amishi Desai, DO, and surgical director Raquel Garcia Roca, MD. Prior to joining Loyola, Dr. Garcia Roca performed more than 75 pancreas transplants at other centers.
"For Type 1 diabetes patients who are experiencing serious complications from their disease, pancreas transplants can be a potential cure," Dr. Garcia Roca said.
Depending on the patient, future pancreas transplant surgeries at Loyola will involve transplanting a pancreas in combination with a kidney or a transplanting a pancreas alone.
The pancreas transplant program was approved by the United Network for Organ Sharing and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, after a year of careful planning involving many physicians, nurses and other clinicians from multiple disciplines.
Loyola began its solid organ transplant program in 1971 with its first kidney transplant. Loyola established Chicago's first heart transplant program in 1984, Chicago's first lung transplant program in 1988 and its liver transplant program in 1997. In 2016, Loyola had a record-setting year with 246 solid organ transplants and also successfully transplanted ten organs into six patients in 22 hours.