Sentara Pancreas Transplant Proposal Wins Final State Approval
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Sentara Pancreas Transplant Proposal Wins Final State Approval 

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Sentara Norfolk General Hospital will add pancreas transplants to its kidney transplant program, following final state approval for a Certificate of Public Need.

"Adding pancreas transplants is a natural evolution of our kidney transplant program," says John Colonna, M.D., surgical director of the Renal Transplant Center at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. "We’re delighted that the state health commissioner agreed there is a great need for this service in Hampton Roads."

"Up to 15 percent of our kidney transplant candidates have Type 1 diabetes, which is a major cause of kidney failure," Dr. Colonna continues. "Those patients are ideal candidates for pancreas transplants to cure their diabetes."

Projections are for 350 patients in the Sentara program to be on the waiting list for donated kidneys by the end of 2004. Sentara Norfolk General Hospital has been increasing the capacity of the kidney transplant program to meet demand, since living donors have increased substantially in number. The Sentara program recently performed four living-donor kidney transplants in two days. Tonight, Dr. Colonna will perform a kidney transplant on the 90th recipient this year. The previous one-year record was 76.

A local pancreas transplant program will eliminate stressful and expensive travel for kidney recipients who also need pancreas transplants. Currently, such patients must travel to the Medical College of Virginia program in Richmond or the University of Virginia program in Charlottesville. Such travel often involves multiple trips for pre-operative and post-operative care, which takes patients away from home, work, and their families for extended periods of time.

The expansion of the Sentara transplant program will use existing operating rooms, equipment and staff at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, and potentially reduce medical costs by allowing simultaneous kidney/pancreas transplants.

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