Spectrum of surgical complications after simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplantation in a prospectively randomized study of two immunosuppressive protocols

Wolfgang Steurer, Jacques Malaise, Walter Mark, Alfred Koenigsrainer, Raimund Margreiter et al.
Nephrology, Dialysis, Transplantation 2005, 20: ii54-62

BACKGROUND: Simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplantation (SPK) has evolved as an effective treatment for patients with end-stage nephropathy due to type 1 diabetes mellitus. This report analyses the spectrum of surgical complications among patients receiving tacrolimus and cyclosporin microemulsion (ME)-based therapy for SPK transplantation.

METHODS: The analysis included 205 patients randomly assigned to tacrolimus (n = 103) or cyclosporin-ME (n = 102) in the Euro-SPK 001 study. Surgical complications were defined as any intervention in the 3-month post-operative course related to the transplant procedure.

RESULTS: In the tacrolimus vs cyclosporin-ME group, repeat laparotomy was required by fewer patients (26 vs 43%, respectively; P = 0.01) and at a later stage post-transplant (26+/-26 vs 14+/-17 days; P = 0.05). Also, thrombosis of graft vessels (2 vs 9%; P = 0.03) and repeat laparotomy for intra-abdominal haemorrhage within the first 3 months (8 vs 22%; P = 0.005) occurred significantly less frequently with tacrolimus vs cyclosporin-ME. A donor age of > or =45 years was a significant determinant for surgical complications requiring repeat laparotomy, regardless of the type of immunosuppression. Portal anastomosis was the safest method of endocrine venous drainage, and Roux-en-Y loop for enteric exocrine drainage was associated with a higher re-operation rate than duodenoenterostomy. Repeat laparotomy had no impact on patient survival, but significantly reduced kidney and pancreas graft survival in the cyclosporin-ME group (kidney: P<0.01; pancreas: P<0.001) and in both groups combined (P < or = 0.05 and P<0.001, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS: The immunological benefits of tacrolimus compared with cyclosporin-ME treatment result in a lower incidence of repeat laparotomies post-transplant and a reduced in-hospital stay. Fewer repeat laparotomies translate into improved pancreas and kidney graft survival.

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