Innovative Intervention for Pancreatitis

Innovative Intervention for Pancreatitis

Innovative Intervention for Pancreatitis

Local doctors pioneer treating pancreatitis without the onset of diabetes at Jewish Hospital.

The pancreas is an organ located behind the stomach that produces enzymes to help digest food and insulin to control blood sugar. In some people, genetic predisposition, medical conditions such as gallstones or lifestyle choices such as drinking alcohol lead to inflammation in the pancreas called pancreatitis. This condition can be dangerous if left untreated.

Based on 2013 data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, chronic pancreatitis in Kentucky contributed to over 4,500 emergency room visits, 3,200 hospital admissions and approximately $75 million in annual medical costs.

“Removing the pancreas is the only way to cure pancreatitis,” said Michael Hughes, MD, transplant surgeon with Jewish Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health, associate professor of surgery at the University of Louisville and surgeon with University of Louisville Physicians. “But the pancreas is responsible for creating insulin — the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. Without the pancreas to create insulin, patients who have the organ removed to correct pancreatitis used to develop brittle diabetes. The islet auto-transplant procedure changes that.”

What Are Islets Cells?

 

The pancreas contains clusters of cells that produce hormones. These clusters are known as islets, and they are the source of insulin. In patients who undergo islet auto-transplant, their islet cells are harvested from the pancreas when it is removed. The process takes place at the Clinical Islet Cell Laboratory at the University of Louisville, under the direction of Balamurugan Appakalai, PhD, a leader in the field of islet cell transplantation.

Cells are processed into a solution that is then slowly reintroduced into the patient’s body through catheters connected to veins that feed the liver. The islet cells make themselves at home in the liver, where they begin producing insulin again. Doing this allows doctors to effectively prevent diabetes from developing permanently in patients who have had their pancreas removed.

Watch the video to learn more about islet auto-cell transplantation from Dr. Hughes.

“Islet auto-cell transplantation is a complex process that takes cooperation and collaboration during each step of the process,” Dr. Hughes said. “We are fortunate to be in an environment where medical professionals and institutions embrace the spirit of collaboration for the benefit of patients.”

To learn more about islet cell transplantation, call 844.739.2998.

A Growing Program

 

The islet cell transplantation program has, in a very short period of time, grown to become one of the largest in the world. Islet cell recipients experience excellent outcomes, raising the hopes for continued breakthroughs in the years to come.

Islet cells are separated from the pancreas in a clean room facility and will later be infused into the patient’s liver, where they will produce insulin to control the body’s blood sugar levels.

This article originally appeared in the 2017 Summer edition of One Health Magazine. Sign up for your free subscription.

New Heart Means Second Chance for Versailles Patient

New Heart Means Second Chance

When physicians told Pat Sutherland she needed a heart transplant, she was stunned.

“Time just stopped,” the 57 year old said. “It was like Charlie Brown’s teacher was talking. All you could hear was, ‘Blah, blah, blah.’”

Sutherland had cardiomyopathy, a condition that makes it difficult for the heart to deliver blood to the body. Despite the distance between Louisville and her hometown of Versailles, Sutherland believed having her transplant at Jewish Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health, was the right choice.

“The day we found out about my new heart was the 15th anniversary of my dad’s death,” Sutherland said. “I felt like he was an angel floating around me.”

On March 23, 2016, Sutherland’s heart transplant was performed. During her 60-day stay in the coronary care unit, she bonded with her nurses.

“We became like a family,” Sutherland said. “No matter what kind of day they were having, they made sure I was doing OK and checked to see if I needed to go for a walk or needed a laugh.”

For her continuing recovery, Sutherland transitioned to the Healthy Lifestyle Center (HLC) at Saint Joseph Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health. Sutherland loves its fun crew.

“They laugh with you and encourage you if you’re having a hard time,” Sutherland said. “They have the know-how, and teach you how to use the machines, how to care for yourself and tips for healthful living.”

Sutherland hopes to one day meet her donor’s family and express her appreciation. She and many of her family members are now donors because of her experience.

“How many times do you get a second chance to live?” Sutherland asked. “What a blessing it is to be able to thank the Lord and people for everything they’ve done for me.”

This article originally appeared in the 2017 Winter edition of One Health magazine. For more stories like this one and news and information on heart health, subscribe to One Health today.

Expanding Transplant Care

Expanding Transplant Care Thanks to $5.3 Million in Funding

Trager Transplant Center

One of the leading providers of organ transplantation in the country has a new home.

The Trager Transplant Center in downtown Louisville provides world-class transplantation services to Kentucky and the surrounding states. Overwhelming success in such a short time has taken the center from Jewish Hospital to the newly renovated third floor of the Frazier Rehab Institute — a space nearly twice the size.

The Trager Center is recognized as being one of the first in Kentucky to perform adult heart, pancreas and liver transplants. It’s also capable of implanting the latest technology — such as the ventricular assist device — to act as a transplant alternative.

The Trager Transplant Center ribbon cutting ceremony

Pictured: Leslie Buddeke Smart CFRE, division vice president, development; Kelly McMasters MD, chairman of the U of L department of surgery; Mark Slaughter MD, executive director of cardiovascular services for the KentuckyOne Health Louisville Market, chair of the department of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery at the University of Louisville; Amy Trager; Jean Trager; Steve Trager; Michael Trager and Andrew Trager.

“We’ve certainly established a reputation in the region for high-quality care and incredible patient experiences,” said Joe Gilene, market president for the KentuckyOne Health downtown Louisville campus. “Many years of exceptional work, support from the Foundation and a generous gift from Jean and Bernard Trager in honor of their children and grandchildren have allowed us to expand our space to meet the rising demand.”

With the first procedure completed on Aug. 1, the new venue has already revealed numerous benefits, including:

  • Increased volume, thanks to expanding from six to 16 exam rooms
  • More comfort for patients and their families within a brighter area
  • Improved communication with four new consultation rooms
  • Updated education rooms to help answer patient questions and concerns
  • Additional space for on-site administrative and physician offices

“Our volume has greatly increased even from just two years ago,” said David Lewis, director of transplant services at KentuckyOne Health. “The new space allows us to take in more patients and, ultimately, save more lives.”

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2016 edition of One Health Magazine