First Pancreas Transplant Marks Another Milestone | Loyola Medicine
Thursday, September 7, 2017

First Pancreas Transplant Marks Another Milestone for Loyola Medicine's Transplant Program

Illustration of the pancreas

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 is one of only three centers in Illinois that perform transplants on five major solid transplant organs: heart, lung, kidney, liver and pancreas.

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.

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 92 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 129,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.