Australian first kidney and pancreas transplant for Type-2 diabetes patient

A young patient with Type-2 diabetes has had his life transformed after undergoing an Australian-first double transplant surgery of both a kidney and pancreas.

Director of Transplant Medicine, Professor Toby Coates, said it’s the first time the procedure has been performed on a patient with Type-2 diabetes.

“As we mark the beginning of DonateLife Week, it is important to reflect on just how far we’ve come in South Australia with the treatment of patients with kidney failure,” Professor Coates said.

“This latest milestone is another way we’ve been able to transform the life of a patient, helping them to get off of dialysis and lead a better life. Our world-class care really is helping us to change lives.

“Our renal transplant team are leading the way in the world of firsts and it is part of our vision to be the centre of excellence for multi organ transplants.”

Previously the combined kidney and pancreas procedure has only been possible for patients with Type-1 diabetes, with advanced kidney disease caused by their condition.

The procedure was recently performed on a 39-year-old patient with Type-2 diabetes, who had been on dialysis since 2018.

Transplant surgeon Dr Shantanu Bhattacharjya said this was possible for a number of reasons, including South Australia’s treatment policy and the patient’s general overall health.

“South Australia has a unique immunosuppressive transplant drug regimen which, unlike interstate policies, doesn’t use the synthetic corticosteroid drugs that can worsen glucose intolerance and are not suitable for patients with Type-2,” Dr Bhattacharjya said.

“This patient was also suitable because of his low insulin requirement, young age, overall health and fitness.”

The patient spent seven days in hospital and is now home doing well with excellent kidney and pancreas function, and blood sugar control.

“By transplanting both organs at the same time, the new pancreas works to bring the patient’s blood sugar under control, which protects the new kidney and helps it to last an average of 10 years longer,” Professor Coates said.

“The double transplant surgery has been performed on kidney failure patients with Type-1 diabetes at the RAH since 2018 and after the success with the first patient with Type-2 diabetes, we now hope to continue to offer this surgery to other suitable patients with Type-2.

“As well as the clear benefit for our patients, this type of surgery delivers real benefits for the broader health system by reducing dialysis requirements and the need to treat diabetes related complications.

“We couldn’t do this without our organ donors, so I would like to take the opportunity to thank them and their families for making the decision to provide this amazing gift

Life changing transplants are possible thanks to the dedication and innovation of the transplant team and the incredible gift of organ donation.

DonateLife Week aims to encourage Australians to register as organ donors and potentially change someone’s life. For more information visit

Pictured are Director of Transplant Medicine Professor Toby Coates, transplant surgeon, Dr Shantanu Bhattacharjya and medical director of DonateLife SA, Dr Stewart Moodie.