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HAHNEMANN RECEIVES APPROVAL FOR PANCREAS TRANSPLANTS

 HAHNEMANN RECEIVES APPROVAL FOR PANCREAS TRANSPLANTS
 PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Hahnemann University,


Philadelphia, has received permission to begin performing pancreas transplants from the commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the national network that coordinates organ sharing.
 The announcement was made by Louis R. Giancola, senior vice president and hospital director, Hahnemann University.
 "This expansion of our transplant program will help make pancreas transplants more accessible for those Delaware Valley diabetics who can benefit from the procedure," Giancola said.
 Approximately 350,000 Delaware Valley residents have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. Of those, some 2,100 could benefit from pancreas transplants, said Giancola. The approval makes Hahnemann the third medical center in southeastern Pennsylvania with a pancreas transplant program, he said.
 Prior to receiving the certificate of need, Hahnemann had received approval for the pancreas transplant program from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), a national transplant network and peer review group. Both the certificate of need and UNOS approval were necessary for the pancreas transplant program to begin.
 "Although diabetes is controllable, the complications of the disease are not," said George M. Abouna, M.D., professor of surgery and director, Division of Transplantation, Hahnemann. "Pancreas transplants can help diabetes patients end their dependence on insulin injections, improve the quality of their lives and avoid or halt further progression of complications from the disease."
 One of the most serious complications of diabetes is renal disease leading to kidney failure, Abouna said.
 "It has been shown that pancreas transplantation does halt some of the complications of diabetes," Abouna said. "If it is done in time, it may save the patient from going into kidney failure."
 Some 40 percent of dialysis patients are diabetics, Abouna said, and diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure in the United States.
 Initially, Hahnemann plans to perform combined kidney-pancreas transplants, but Abouna said the hospital will eventually perform pancreas-only transplants as well, in patients who still have good kidney function.
 Other complications of diabetes include blindness, gangrene leading to loss of limbs, and cardiovascular problems.
 "The pancreas transplant program will be able to rely on a number of organs now donated in the Delaware Valley but used elsewhere in the country because there are few of these transplant programs in this region," said Morris W. Kerstein, M.D., Edgar J. Deissler Professor and chairman, Department of Surgery, Hahnemann.
 In 1991, 61 pancreas were made available to the Delaware Valley Transplant Program but not used. The region currently has a waiting list of 21 patients for pancreas transplants, a spokesman for the independent organ procurement agency said.
 Abouna said six Hahnemann patients will initially be placed on the pancreas waiting list, and the first transplant will be performed as soon as a suitable donor is available.
 Hahnemann was the first hospital in the Delaware Valley to perform kidney transplants, in 1963, and the first to perform bone marrow transplants, in 1976. Hahnemann also currently performs heart and cornea transplants.
 /delval/
 -0- 1/2/92
 /CONTACT: Phyllis M. Fisher of Hahnemann University, 215-448-8284/ CO: Hahnemann University Hospital ST: Pennsylvania IN: HEA SU: PDT


CC-MK -- PH016 -- 6291 01/02/92 16:53 EST
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Date:Jan 2, 1992
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