The Queen’s Transplant Center Begins Services for Pancreas Transplant Patients

The Queen’s Medical Center (Queen’s) has now expanded the only organ transplantation program in the State of Hawaii and Pacific Basin to include pancreas transplant services. “Pancreas transplantation at Queen’s provides an opportunity for Hawaii’s residents with diabetes to have access to a procedure that enhances and prolongs their lives," said Whitney ML Limm, MD, Executive Vice President of Clinical Integration at The Queen’s Medical Center.

United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the national approval organization for organ transplantation, approved Queen’s application to perform pancreas transplants on June 2, 2015, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently granted their approval. Hawaii is unique in the UNOS system in that it is geographically isolated and is 2,500 miles from the nearest transplant center in the United States.

"Pancreas transplantation can halt, and in some cases, even reverse some of the end organ dysfunction caused by diabetes," said Jon "Kai" Yamaguchi, MD, primary surgeon of the pancreas program at Queen’s. "Having a pancreas transplant program in Hawaii markedly improves the access for our patients as geographic proximity to a transplant center has been shown to be a significant factor in whether or not patients are able to be successfully transplanted."

The organ transplantation program was opened at Queen’s in January 2012. With the first liver transplant done in March 2012 and first kidney and living kidney donor transplants done in July 2012, over 230 transplants have been performed at Queen’s.