Glossary of Pancreas Terminology

Absorption
The degree and speed at which a drug enters the bloodstream from the small intestine.

Allograft
An organ or tissue from another individual.

Allotransplantation
Transplantation from another individual, live or cadaver.

Alkaline Phosphatase
An enzyme produced by liver (and other) cells; elevated blood levels of this substance may indicate abnormal function of the liver or other organs.

Anemic
Low red blood cell count.

Anesthetic
A medication that reduces pain by dulling sensation.

Antacid
A drug that aids in protecting the digestive system and relieves heartburn and digestive discomfort.

Antibody
A protein produced by the body to eliminate foreign substances, such as bacteria.

Antigen
A foreign molecule or substance, such as a transplant, that triggers an immune response. This response may be the production of antibodies, which, in turn, try to inactivate or destroy the antigen (transplanted organ).

Arteriogram (angiogram)
An x-ray of the arteries taken with the aid of a dye.

Atherosclerosis
A buildup of fats in the lining of the arteries that may interfere with the flow of blood.

B Cell
A specialized white blood cell responsible for the body's immunity. B cells play a central role in antibody production.

Bacteria
Small organisms (germs) that can cause disease.

Bioavailability
A measure of how much of an administered drug is absorbed into the bloodstream, actually reaching the intended site of action in the body. For example, medicine is absorbed from the GI tract, travels through the bloodstream, and reaches the organ tissues, where it works to fight infection, prevent rejection, etc.

Biopsy
The removal and examination of tissue for diagnosis.

Bladder
The part of the urinary tract that receives urine from the kidneys and stores it until urination.

Blood Urea Nitrogen
A byproduct of protein breakdown in the body.

BUN
BUN stands for blood urea nitrogen, a waste product normally excreted by the kidney. Your BUN value represents how well the kidneys function.

Cadaveric Donor
An individual who has recently died of causes that do not affect the function of an organ to be transplanted. Either the person or the person's family has generously offered organs and/or tissues for transplantation.

Cellcept®
An immunosuppressive drug used with other immunosuppressants to prevent the rejection of the transplanted organ. Also known by its chemical name, myophenolate mofetil.

Chronic hyperglycemia
Extended periods of blood glucose levels above normal range.

Corticosteroids
A category of immunosuppressive medications that includes prednisone and prednislone.

Creatinine
A substance found in blood and urine; it results from normal body chemical reactions; high blood creatinine levels are a sign of depressed kidney function.

Crossmatch
A test in which donor and recipient blood samples are mixed together. A "positive" crossmatch shows the donor and recipient are incompatible. A "negative" crossmatch shows there is no reaction between the donor and the recipient. This means that the donor and recipient are compatible and the transplant may proceed.

Cyclosporine
The immunosuppressive ingredient in Neoral® (cyclosporine capsules and oral solution for microemulsion) and Sandimmune® (cyclosporine), an earlier form of cyclosporine. Neoral® and Sandimmune are not bioequivalent and cannot be used interchangeably without physician supervision.

CMV (Cytomegalovirus)
A virus infection that is very common in transplant recipients; it can affect the lungs and other organs as well; a member of the family of herpes viruses.

Detoxify
To change a harmful substance into a safer form.

Diabetes
A condition in which an insufficient amount of insulin is produced by the pancreas, resulting in high levels of glucose in the blood.

Diabetic Lesions
In nephropathy, microscopic damage to the kidneys; most often the result of chronic hyperglycemia.

Dialysis
The process of cleansing and achieving chemical balance in the blood of patients whose kidneys have failed. Dialysis may refer to hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis (PD).

Dysmetabolism
Improper or unbalanced metabolic process.

Edema
Excess fluid in body tissues; swelling of the ankles, for example, is a sign of edema.

Electrolyte
Generally refers to the dissolved form of a mineral such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, chlorine, etc.

Enzyme
A protein made in the body and capable of changing a substance from one form to another.

Euglycemic, Normoglycemia
Both terms denote blood glucose levels in the consistently normal range.

Exogenous Insulin Administration
Insulin dosage by injection.

Gastroenterologist
A physician who specializes in the care of the digestive tract.

Glomerulonephritis
A serious kidney inflammation, which may seriously impair kidney function; extreme cases require dialysis or transplant.

Glucose
A type of sugar found in the blood.

Graft
An organ or tissue that is transplanted.

Graft Survival
When a transplanted tissue or organ is accepted by the body and functions properly. The potential for graft survival is increased when the recipient and donor are closely matched, and when immunosuppressive therapy is used.

Helper T Cell
The specialized white blood cell that tells other parts of the immune system to combat infection or foreign material.

Hematocrit
A measure of the red-blood-cell content of blood.

Hemodialysis
A method of dialysis in which blood is purified by circulating through an apparatus outside the body (sometimes called an "artificial kidney”).

Hirsutism
An excessive increase in hair growth - especially male-pattern hair growth in a female. Hirsutism is a common side effect of corticosteroids and can also occur with cyclosporine therapy, but is easily treated with depilatory creams or other methods of hair removal.

Histocompatibility
The examination of human leukocyte antigens (HLA) in a patient, often referred to as "tissue typing" or "genetic matching". Tissue typing is routinely performed for all donors and recipients in kidney and pancreas transplantation to help match the donor with the most suitable recipients. This helps to decrease the likelihood of "rejecting" the transplanted organ.

HLA (human leukocyte antigens) system
Genetically determined series of antigens that are present on human white blood cells (leukocytes) and tissues

Hypertension
High blood pressure.

Immune Response
Any defensive reaction to foreign material by the immune system.

Immune System
The system that protects the body from invasion by foreign substances, such as bacteria and viruses, and from cancer cells.

Immunity
A condition of being able to resist a particular infectious disease.

Immunosuppression
Prevention or suppression of immune response. Transplant patients receive immunosuppressive drugs in order to prevent rejection.

Immunosuppressive Agents
Medications given to prevent rejection of a transplanted organ.

Imuran®
An immunosuppressive drug used with other immunosuppressive drugs to help prevent the rejection of a transplanted organ. Also known by its chemical name, azathioprine.

Incompatible
No likeness or similarity between donor or recipient blood type or organs.

Indiana Organ Procurement Organization (IOPO)
IOPO serves as the integral link between the potential donor and recipient and is accountable for the retrieval, preservation and transportation of organs for transplantation. IOPO is an UNOS members as are all Organ Procurement Organizations.

IV or Intravenous
Refers to giving medicines or fluids directly through a vein.

IV Catheter
A small needle with a hollow tube inserted into a vein and used to give medicines or fluids.

Labile, Hyperlabile
Uncontrolled, "brittle".

Match
The compatibility between recipient and donor.

Microemulsion
A suspension or mixture of tiny droplets of one liquid in a second liquid, such as the smooth mixture that is formed when Neoral® (cyclosporine capsules and oral solution for microemulsion) combines with fluids in the digestive system.

Neutrophil
A type of white blood cell.

Noncompliance
Failure to follow the instructions of one's health care providers, such as not taking medicine as prescribed or not showing up for clinic visits.

Orally
By mouth.

Organ Preservation
Between organ procurement and transplant, organs require special methods of preservation to keep them viable. The length of time that organs and tissues can be kept outside the body varies, depending on the organ, the preservation fluid and the temperature.

Organ Rejection
An attempt by the immune system to reject or destroy what it recognizes to be a "foreign" presence.

Pancreas After Kidney Transplant (PAK)
A pancreas transplant that is done some time after the kidney transplant.

Pancreas Transplant Alone (PTA)
When a pancreas transplant is done without a kidney transplant.

Panel Reactive Antibody (PRA)
A way of measuring immune system activity within the body. PRA is higher when more antibodies are being made.

Pneumocystis Carinii Pneumonia (PCP)
A type of pneumonia seen primarily in patients whose immune systems are suppressed.

Peritoneal Dialysis
A method of purifying the blood by flushing the abdominal cavity with a dilute salt solution.

Platelet
A small blood cell needed for normal blood clotting.

Potassium
A mineral essential for body function.

Prednisone
A manufactured steroid hormone taken by most transplant recipients to help prevent rejections medication that helps prevent disease.

Rapamycin (Rapamune®)
Rapamycin belongs to a group of medicines known as immunosuppressive agents. It is used to lower the body's natural immunity in patients who receive kidney transplants. When a patient receives an organ transplant, the body's white blood cells will try to get rid of (reject) the transplanted organ. Rapamycin works by preventing the white blood cells from getting rid of the transplanted organ.

Rejection
An immune response against grafted tissue, which, if not successfully treated, results in failure of the graft to survive.

Retransplantation
Due to organ rejection or transplant failure, some patients need another transplant and return to the waiting list. Reducing the number of retransplants is critical when examining ways to maximize a limited supply of donor organs.

Sandimmune® (cyclosporin)
An earlier formulation of cyclosporine. An immunosuppressive drug used with other immunosuppressive drugs, that acts specifically to inhibit helper T cells, thereby helping prevent the rejection of a transplanted organ. Sandimmune and Neoral are not bioequivalent and cannot be used interchangeably without physician supervision.

Sensitized
Being immunized, or able to mount an immune response, against an antigen by previous exposure to that antigen.

Simultaneous Pancreas and Kidney Transplant (SPK)
A transplant procedure where both a kidney and the pancreas are transplanted at the same time.

Sodium
A component of table salt (sodium chloride); an electrolyte that is the main salt in blood.

Status
Indicates the degree of medical urgency for patients awaiting transplants.

Stricture or Stenosis
A narrowing of passage in the body.

Survival Rates
Survival rates indicate how many patients or grafts (transplanted organs) are alive/functioning at a set time post-transplant. Survival rates are often given at one, three and five years. Policy modifications are never made without examining their impact on transplant survival rates. Survival rates improve with technological and scientific advances. Developing policies that reflect and respond to these advances in transplantation will also improve survival rates.

Systolic
The top of the two blood pressure numbers, which measures the maximum blood pressure reached as blood is pumped out of the heart chambers.

Triglycerides
A form of fat that the body makes from sugar, alcohol, and excess calories.

T Cells
A white blood cell responsible for the body's immunity. T cells can destroy cells infected by viruses, graft cells, and other altered cells.

Tissue Typing
A blood test (performed prior to transplantation) to evaluate the closeness of tissue match between donor's organ and recipient's HLA antigens.

Type 1 Diabetes
An autoimmune disease in which the body does not produce any insulin to control an individual's blood sugar, most often occurring in children and young adults. People with type I diabetes must take daily insulin injections to stay alive.

Type 2 Diabetes
A metabolic disorder resulting from the body's inability to properly use insulin. It often can be controlled with diet, exercise and oral medication or injection of extra insulin. It is the most common form of the disease.

Ultrasound
A probe that uses high-frequency sound waves that pass into the body, are reflected back, to build an image of one's internal organs that is shown on a monitor.

Uremic
Uremia is the end result of kidney failure--the buildup of unexcreted toxins in the blood.

Virus
A very small agent (germ) that causes infection.

Waiting List
After evaluation by the transplant physician, a patient is added to the national waiting list by the transplant center. Lists are specific to both geographic area and organ type: heart, lung, kidney, liver, pancreas, intestine, heart-lung, kidney-pancreas. Each time a donor organ becomes available, the UNOS computer generates a list of potential recipients based on factors that include genetic similarity, organ size, medical urgency and time on the waiting list. Through this process, a "new" list is generated each time an organ becomes available.

White Blood Cells
Cells in the blood that fight infection; part of the immune system.

TOP