Waiting for your transplant

Pancreas transplant alone

If you have decided that a pancreas transplant alone (PTA) is your best option, and the kidney doctors and surgeons agree, your case will be discussed with the transplant team. If the team agrees, your name will be placed on the national pancreas transplant waiting pool (list).

On average, most people wait about 1 year before they receive a pancreas transplant. This depends on their tissue type, blood group, age, and whether they have antibodies in their blood against other tissue types. If you become unwell while you are waiting, you might need to be temporarily taken off the transplant waiting pool until you’re well enough to be put back onto it.

Staying healthy

You will need to stay as fit as possible to prepare for your transplant. 


  • do continue to take all your medicines
  • do come to all of your clinic appointments so that we can monitor your health
  • do keep to a healthy diet
  • do take regular exercise
  • do stay out of the sun and use a high-factor sunscreen to lower your chance of developing skin cancers

Do not

  • do not smoke 

Your contact information

You must make sure that we have your up-to-date contact details so that we can call you if a pancreas becomes available. If you have a mobile phone, keep it on and with you at all times. If you do not have a mobile phone, you should give us other phone numbers that we can use to contact you.

Waiting time

If you have not received a pancreas transplant within 1 year of being in the transplant waiting pool, we will see you again in the pancreas clinic.

We will check that you’re as well as possible, and answer any questions you might have.

You might need more tests to make sure that you’re still well enough for the operation.

Being called for your transplant

Most people are called in for the transplant late at night. We will ask you to come to Richard Bright ward at Guy’s Hospital, where you will have blood tests and be checked by the transplant team and anaesthetists. 

Do not eat or drink anything unless we have told you that you can. If your blood sugars are low, you can have sugary drinks.

You can be told the approximate age of the donor, their sex, and the cause of death, as long as this does not harm the donor’s confidentiality. You might also be given some information about the donor’s medical history, such as if they have had cancer, or if they have an increased risk of an infectious disease.

It is common for patients to be called in for a pancreas transplant, but the transplant does not happen. This happens in about 1 in 3 patients, and is often due to problems with the pancreas, or your blood tests. We understand that this can be very upsetting for you and your family.

Resource number: 4226/VER3
Last reviewed: October 2023
Review date: October 2026

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