South Australian diabetics will for the first time have access to potentially life-changing transplant surgery in their home state, the Marshall Liberal Government has announced today.
Health and Wellbeing Minister Stephen Wade said the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) will start providing pancreas transplantation surgeries this month.
“The Royal Adelaide Hospital is to be congratulated - it will soon become one of only three hospitals in the nation able to offer this life-changing service,” Minister Wade said.
“In fact, South Australia will have the most inclusive surgical program, offering transplants to a wider range of diabetic patients, not only those with renal failure.”
“Pancreas transplantation offers diabetics freedom from insulin and its complications, and significantly improves their quality of life and prospects for overall survival.
“Until now, seriously ill patients have had to travel interstate to access a combined pancreas and kidney transplantation, which requires them to relocate during the lengthy recovery period.
“As a result, some patients went without the operation, opting to only have a kidney transplant so they could stay close to home.”
Surgeon Shantanu Bhattacharjya said the procedures will be performed as part of the Renal, Pancreas and Islet transplants program.
“After successful pancreas transplantation, insulin therapy is no longer required and recipients generally feel better, spend less time in hospital and enjoy a normal diet and more normal lifestyle,” Mr Bhattacharjya said.
“Further, a pancreas transplant in conjunction with a kidney transplant, dramatically improves the survival of diabetic patients with kidney failure who are dependent on both insulin and renal dialysis.”
Assessment clinics commenced at the RAH in January with two patients currently identified as being suitable candidates who are waiting for a suitable donor.
Dr Stewart Moodie, State Medical Director of Donate Life SA, has welcomed the announcement and said it shows just how important organ donation can be.
“Our figures show that 51 pancreases’ from deceased South Australian donors were unable to be used over the past four years,” Dr Moodie said.
“This new step forward in transplant surgery in South Australia means the wishes of organ donors to help as many people as possible will be realised.”