You may apply directly, or have your family doctor or your diabetes specialist make a referral to the Islet Transplant Program.
For your referral, you will need to complete an application that includes:
The islet transplant team will review your application. The team includes:
The team will contact you by phone if they need more information.
Once your referral application has been reviewed, a member of the transplant team will contact you to talk about what happens next. You will either move on to the assessment phase of the process, or your referral will be declined. If an islet transplant is not right for you at this time, the transplant team will explain what you may need to do and how you can apply again in the future.
If you are moved on to the assessment phase, you will need to get some tests. Assessment tests include, but are not limited to:
The transplant team will try to arrange for these tests to happen close to where you live. If this isn’t possible, you may need to come to Edmonton to have these done.
During the assessment phase, you will also need to:
The timing of these appointments will depend on your current health situation and needs.
When you have finished all of the tests, the islet transplant team will help you decide if a transplant is a good option for you.
Yes. In fact, you
must have a support person throughout your islet transplant journey. A support person can be anyone you choose. They should be able to help you during all phases of your journey: assessment, waitlist, transplant, recovery, and follow-up. You could choose someone like your partner, a family member, or a good friend. Choose someone who knows you well and is willing to make the commitment.
Your support person will need to:
If the islet transplant team thinks that a transplant is your best treatment option, and you agree, you will be placed on the transplant waitlist.
While you are on the waitlist:
There may be times when you are placed “on hold” while on the waitlist. This means that you will not be called in for a transplant during an “on hold” time. Your coordinator will talk to you if this needs to happen.
Waiting for a transplant is difficult. Your transplant team is here to support you and work together towards the goal of transplant.
There is a limited amount of time during which islet cells can be transplanted. If the transplant team cannot reach you, or if you are not ready, willing, or able to accept the offer, they may offer the islet cells to the next person on the waitlist.
The transplant team will only offer you a transplant if the available islet cells are suitable for you.
Once you have accepted the transplant offer:
In rare cases, after you arrive at the hospital, the transplant team might decide that doing the transplant is not safe or not in your best interest. This is called a “dry run.” If this happens, your transplant will be cancelled and you will go back home. You will need to find your own transportation to get home. If the transplant is cancelled due to a problem with the islets, you will stay on the waitlist and be offered islets again at another time. If the transplant is cancelled due to a safety issue found with you, this may need to be looked at further to make sure it is safe to put you back on the waitlist.
You will go to the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton.
Go to the admitting department when you arrive at the hospital, unless the coordinator gives you other instructions.
First, you will get 2 intravenous (IV) medicines. One is an insulin drip and the other is for transplant medicines.
The islet transplant usually happens in the radiology department. In rare cases, it might happen in the operating room. Your transplant team uses an ultrasound machine to guide a needle and then a thin tube between your right lower ribs into a main vein (called the portal vein) just below your liver. Your doctor will then give you the islet cells through this thin tube.
You will get medicine to numb your skin before you get the needle. You will also get medicines to help you relax and manage any pain. The transplant takes about 1 hour.
Current as of: January 20, 2022
Author: Transplant Services, Alberta Health Services
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.