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Frequently Asked Questions

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Answers to Question About Liver, Kidney & Pancreas Care

Below you will find some valuable information about liver, kidney, and pancreas health. These are answers to some of the most common questions we receive from patients and their families. If you’d like to speak to someone directly, contact us online today.

Liver Services & Transplantation

  • How can I keep my liver healthy?

    • Avoid drinking alcohol. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. – Maintain a healthy body weight. – Avoid high doses or prolonged use of certain medications that may cause liver damage, unless supervised by your physician.
    • Certain cholesterol medications
    • Acetaminophen
    • To keep from contracting hepatitis B and C viruses:
    • Practice safe sex by using latex condoms
    • Limit the number of sexual partners
    • Don’t share toothbrushes, razors or needles
  • Are vaccines available for hepatitis?

    • Not all hepatitis viruses have a vaccine.
    • Hepatitis A and B are now included in routine childhood vaccines. However, if you have not been vaccinated and are at high risk, you can the vaccine.
    • Unfortunately, there is not a vaccine for hepatitis C at this time. However, there are many treatments available. Hepatitis C can be cured.
  • Is a transplant my only hope if I develop liver disease?

    • No, managing the disease while living a healthy lifestyle is the first method of treatment. A transplant is the last option for liver disease.

Kidney & Pancreas Transplantation

  • What is your longest functioning kidney transplant?

    • To date, our longest functioning kidney transplant is from 1981.
  • What is a living donation?

    • Typically, a kidney from a living donor lasts longer than one from a deceased donor. If you are lucky enough to have someone who wants to donate to you, trust that he or she will be treated with great care, concern, and protection. Our first commitment is to the living donor.
    • Living donors are thoroughly evaluated by a separate medical team to rule out any issues that would prevent them from donating. At Methodist Dallas, we do not accept living donors with hypertension or diabetes. These are the top two causes of kidney failure, and we believe that the donor needs to preserve their kidney function.
    • The evaluation looks at their general health with close attention to their kidney function. If the recipient has a disease that runs in the family, like hypertension, diabetes, or polycystic kidney disease, an unrelated donor may be the best option.
  • What is a paired donor exchange?

    • This arrangement helps when patients have a donor who does not match the recipient’s blood group or has an incompatible match. We are able to put the donor and recipient information into the computerized system, which looks for alternate matches for the recipient and donor. This is also known as a “donor swap.” This has been very helpful to many people around the United States.
  • What do kidneys do?

    • Kidneys are responsible for control of fluid and electrolyte balance as well as the chemical balance, which is controlled by excretion through urine. They also produce erythropoietin, which stimulates red blood cell production. They activate vitamin D, helping the body absorb calcium, which contributes to bone strength. Lastly, they produce renin, which helps with blood pressure control.
  • Do I have to start dialysis to begin the transplant process?

    • No, you can begin the evaluation process prior to starting dialysis and can be listed when your creatinine clearance is 20 or less.
  • Is it better to receive a living donor kidney than one from a deceased donor?

    • We always encourage living donation because the waiting time will be shorter and statistically, living donor kidneys function longer.
  • Does a living donor need to be biologically related to donate?

    • No, many living donors are spouses, distant relatives or even friends.
  • What if I have living donor and we are not compatible?

    • We offer the option of Paired Exchange which means we try to find other incompatible pairs and then “swap” the donor kidneys and recipients to allow several transplants to take place at once. The donor will not need to travel to the recipient center.
  • Is it more beneficial to receive a kidney and pancreas transplant if I am diabetic and in kidney failure?

    • Each patient scenario is different. However, in the event you are a Type I diabetic and you meet the criteria, (not overweight or have severe cardiovascular disease) it could be beneficial to receive both organs to prevent further damage from diabetes.
  • Will a pancreas transplant reverse the effects of diabetes?

    • A successful pancreas transplant will not reverse the effects that have already occurred but may prevent any further damage from diabetes.
  • Are there other transplant recipients that I could connect with during this process?

    • We have a support group that meets the second Monday of the month at 7:00 p.m. at MDMC. This group is open to patients, families and friends. Recipients of different organ types, both pre and post-transplant, and even from other transplant centers frequently attend.