What’s Islet Cell Auto-Transplantation as Mentioned on Grey’s Anatomy?
Sometimes Grey's Anatomy does a great job in explaining its medical lingo... and sometimes not. But we're here to help you fill in the gaps. Here are some topics raised during Season 7, Episode 13 worth explaining.
Martha, the old woman whom Cristina and Jackson made feel like a VIP, had multivessel coronary disease, which means that her arteries were clogged by plaque build-up, restricting the amount of blood flow to her heart. So she was schedule for a quadruple bypass surgery, in which four vessel from other parts of her body were grafted in to relieve the function of four clogged vessels.
When Bailey's patient started hemorrhaging after surgery— pancreatic enzymes were leaking into his abdomen dissolving the blood vessels — she and Richard decided upon an islet cell auto-transplantation, after a Tacoma hospital tweeted that they had the necessary equipment. As Bailey explained, this procedure would isolate cells from the pancreas and inject them into the liver, tricking the liver into acting like a pancreas and creating insulin. (Tricking the liver? In an episode about deception? Hah!) The cells in question were islet cells, or cells from the Islets of Langerhans, which is in fact a region of the pancreas and not some sort of island chain.