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Transplant Program Reaches Another Milestone

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – This has been a banner year for the Abdominal Organ Transplant Program at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. On the heels of news this summer that the 1,500th transplant was performed, surgeons have now completed their 100th pancreas transplant in the history of the program.

“Our program has progressed to the next level in recent years,” said Robert Stratta, M.D., transplant surgeon and director of the Transplant Program. “Our 100th pancreas transplant was a combination kidney-pancreas transplant. Our pancreas transplant program is currently among the top 15 most active in the country and our kidney program is among the top 40 most active.”

Pancreas transplants, often performed in conjunction with a kidney transplant, are used to treat diabetes.

Overall results are excellent with 95 percent patient survival and 89 percent kidney graft survival rates with a mean follow-up of over two years. In surviving patients, 92 percent are currently insulin free and have essentially been cured of diabetes by the transplant procedure. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas to regulate blood sugar. Diabetes is caused by inadequate insulin production resulting in a chronic illness associated with a series of progressive complications.

“Since diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure in adult patients in the United States, the emphasis on pancreas transplants at our center represents a more complete approach to the insulin-requiring diabetic patient," said Stratta. "In addition, the recent decision by Medicare to fund pancreas alone transplantation means that many patients may now qualify for pancreas transplantation prior to the need for a kidney transplant."

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Contact: Jonnie Rohrer, jrohrer@wfubmc.edu, 336-716-6972, or Shannon Koontz, shkoontz@wfubmc.edu, 336-716-4587.

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center is an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University Health Sciences, which operates the university’s School of Medicine. The system comprises 1,187 acute care, psychiatric, rehabilitation and long-term care beds and is consistently ranked as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report.

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