Local October 29, 2020 | 2:31 pm

Successful first pancreas transplant in Dominican Republic

Suleika Pérez, the first patient undergoing a pancreas transplant at the HGPS, together with the team of surgeons.

Santo Domingo, DR

The General Hospital of the Plaza de la Salud (HGPS) reported yesterday that it had started the country’s pancreas transplant program. The inaugural procedure was performed on a diabetic patient with chronic kidney disease and has endured hemodialysis for more than two years.

The patient, Suleika Pérez Suero, 27, had type 1 diabetes and been insulin-dependent since she was ten years old.

The information was offered by Dr. Julio Amado Castaños Guzmán, president of the HGPS Board of Trustees, who has been a fundamental part of the transplant program since 2007 at that center and a pioneer in transplants from recently-deceased donors.

In turn, Dr. Nepomuceno Mejía, medical director of the center, confirmed the commitment that the HGPS has to continue favoring the population with the different transplant programs that it develops.

The transplant was carried out, and the graft (pancreas) showed good function immediately, which represents significant progress for Dominican medicine, since, through programs like this one, patients can recover their quality of life and avoid the deterioration of the organs that for reasons of diabetes fail in a sustained and progressive way.

A multidisciplinary team of professionals participated in this procedure, headed by doctors Jiomar Figueroa, principal surgeon; Ana Carolina De la Cruz, nephrologist; José Juan Castillos, nephrologist; Francisco Alcalá and José Del Carmen Caraballo, organ recruitment coordinators.

In a written statement, the HGPS indicates that this type of transplant can be carried out thanks to the great work of selflessness and altruism of the Dominican population, since, in such difficult moments of pain in a family, they kindly donate the organs of their deceased loved ones.

Remember that from their beginnings to the present, they have a total of 399 transplants performed: kidney from deceased donors (191), from living donors (109), liver (52), bone marrow (45), cardiac (1), and pancreas (1).

“We have performed successful multi-organ transplants in a single patient: liver-kidney, pancreas-kidney and additional,” he added.

He refers that during these 13 years, they have carried out various types of fully-intact-organ transplants, among which kidney, liver, heart, and pancreas transplants stand out. Also, they performed tissue transplants, such as bone marrow and cornea.

They also have a pediatric kidney transplant program, and preparations are currently being made to start a pediatric liver transplant program.

The HGPS is responsible for more than 55% of transplants in the Dominican Republic and is the only center that performs transplants in different modalities and with a bone marrow transplant program.

The National Transplant Coordination Institute is the national body that governs organ donation activity in the Dominican Republic. Thanks to the work they carry out, it was possible to obtain the organ to transplant for this patient.

THE PANCREAS

It is essential in the digestion
process. The pancreas secretes enzymes. Its function is to chemically break down ingested fats and proteins into small portions that can be absorbed by the intestine. If anomalies are detected too late, it expands rapidly and has an unfavorable prognosis.