What to Expect After Pancreas Transplant Surgery

After the transplant operation, you will be taken to the transplant intensive care unit, where a team of trained transplant specialists will take care of you.  You will meet physicians, nurses, pharmacists, residents, and social workers all of whom specialize in transplant care.  While you are in the hospital, you will be watched closely.  We will be teaching you how to care for yourself and your pancreas.  Specific tasks which will be done by the nurses that you should be aware of include the following:

  • Vital signs:  Your nurse will take your temperature, pulse, and blood pressure.  You will be taught how to take your temperature.  Have someone bring a thermometer from home so we can show you how to use it.  You will need to take your temperature once a day at home.
  • Intake and output:  Accurate measurements of your fluid intake and urine output is very important.  If you are on a fluid restriction, you must limit the amount of fluid you drink.  Inform your nurse of your entire fluid intake.  Your output includes your urine, and other waste products your body makes.  You will be taught how to measure liquids so you can monitor your intake and output at home.  You will loose an additional 1 to 1.5 liters of fluid from the secretion of your pancreas transplant through your bladder.  You need to replace it by increasing your fluid intake.
  • Daily weights:  All transplant patients are weighed daily.  If you can walk, a standing scale in the hallway will be used.  If you are unable to get out of bed, a bed scale will be used.  Be sure to urinate before being weighed.  A full bladder will make you weigh more. You will weigh yourself once a day when you are at home.
  • Blood drawing:  During the first 24 hours after your surgery, your blood will be drawn every six hours.  If you are doing well, expect to have your blood drawn once a day between 4:00 and 5:00 am.  Several tubes of blood are drawn at this time.  Routine tests check levels of creatinine, potassium, white and red blood counts and anti-rejection drugs.  Bloods are drawn early so the results are available to the doctors for their morning rounds.  Your medication dosages may change because of these tests.  Your glucose level will be monitored closely until your glucose level is under control.
  • Specimen collection:  You will be obtaining urine specimens every other day while you are in the hospital and when you come to the clinic.  We will also measure the excretion of pancreatic juice to monitor the well being of your pancreas transplant.