Intestine Transplant Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Read the FAQ below to find what you are looking for

A: The Intestine Transplant Program employs advanced surgical techniques in transplantation, modern immunosuppressant therapies and world class patient-centered care so transplant recipients can enjoy better health and a longer life. There are three types of transplantation supported by the program:

  • Intestine alone
  • Combined Intestine & Liver
  • Multi-visceral (stomach, intestine, liver and pancreas)

The intestine transplant team will discuss which option is best for you.

A: An Intestine Transplant is the removal of damaged or diseased intestine from an individual and replacing it with a donated healthy intestine.

A: Individuals with a severe gastrointestinal disorder that will not improve without transplantation and have; limited vascular access, severe liver disease, life threatening blood infections or very poor quality of life.

Common conditions include: short gut syndrome, severe crohn’s disease and chronic intestinal pseudoobstruction disorder. You must be highly motivated and dedicated to the accompanying life style changes that will follow transplant.

A: A successful transplant can save your life. Ideally you will eventually not need Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN), your diet will be less restricted and you will not have fluid restrictions. A functioning healthy bowel can provide an overall increase in energy and general health. If you also need a liver, a transplant can save your life and correct your liver disease.

A: Intestine Transplant carries significant risks and is offered to carefully selected patients. Possible complications include infection and drug related side effects. Rejection is also a risk and occurs when your immune system recognizes the new organ as a foreign body. People with transplants must be on lifelong immunosuppressive medications.

A: Transplant is made possible by the generous gift of a deceased (non-living) person’s family. After a person dies the family may choose to donate organs to save the life of many others.

A: Waiting time for transplantation varies based on the number of available donors and number of people on the waiting list. There are many factors to take into consideration to find a suitable match.

A: The surgery for this type of transplant is quite extensive and takes approximately 8-12 hours.

  • Take the immunosuppressant medications as prescribed by your doctor. If you adhere to the medications prescribed, you lessen the chance your body will reject your new organs.
  • Attend your transplant clinic. You're required to attend regular health clinics and have your blood work drawn as scheduled. Your clinic includes a visit with your doctor and your transplant nurse coordinator to monitor your health for any signs of infection or rejection.
  • Do blood work regularly. Your transplant team will let you know how often. At the beginning, you will need to do blood work at the Hospital. Later on, you can do it at a lab close to home. The frequency of blood tests decreases over time.
  • Communicate. Engage your healthcare providers and caregivers. Ask questions, talk about how you're feeling and describe any changes in your health. Your feedback will help ensure you receive the best possible care.
.

A: For more information about intestine transplantation, ask your doctor or email intestinetransplant@uhn.ca