Pancreas transplantation: The Wake Forest experience in the new millennium

Jeffrey Rogers, Alan C Farney, Giuseppe Orlando, Samy S Iskandar, William Doares, Michael D Gautreaux, Scott Kaczmorski, Amber Reeves-Daniel, Amudha Palanisamy, Robert J Stratta
World Journal of Diabetes 2014 December 15, 5 (6): 951-61

AIM: To investigate the Wake Forest experience with pancreas transplantation in the new millennium with attention to surgical techniques and immunosuppression.

METHODS: A monocentric, retrospective review of outcomes in simultaneous kidney-pancreas transplant (SKPT) and solitary pancreas transplant (SPT) recipients was performed. All patients underwent pancreas transplantation as intent-to-treat with portal venous and enteric exocrine drainage and received depleting antibody induction; maintenance therapy included tapered steroids or early steroid elimination with mycophenolate and tacrolimus. Recipient selection was based on clinical judgment whether or not the patient exhibited measureable levels of C-peptide.

RESULTS: Over an 11.25 year period, 202 pancreas transplants were performed in 192 patients including 162 SKPTs and 40 SPTs. A total of 186 (92%) were primary and 16 (8%) pancreas retransplants; portal-enteric drainage was performed in 179 cases. A total of 39 pancreas transplants were performed in African American (AA) patients; of the 162 SKPTs, 30 were performed in patients with pretransplant C-peptide levels > 2.0 ng/mL. In addition, from 2005-2008, 46 SKPT patients were enrolled in a prospective study of single dose alemtuzumab vs 3-5 doses of rabbit anti-thymocyte globulin induction therapy. With a mean follow-up of 5.7 in SKPT vs 7.7 years in SPT recipients, overall patient (86% SKPT vs 87% SPT) and kidney (74% SKPT vs 80% SPT) graft survival rates as well as insulin-free rates (both 65%) were similar (P = NS). Although mortality rates were nearly identical in SKPT compared to SPT recipients, patterns and timing of death were different as no early mortality occurred in SPT recipients whereas the rates of mortality following SKPT were 4%, 9% and 12%, at 1-, 3- and 5-years follow-up, respectively (P < 0.05). The primary cause of graft loss in SKPT recipients was death with a functioning graft whereas the major cause of graft loss following SPT was acute and chronic rejection. The overall incidence of acute rejection was 29% in SKPT and 27.5% in SPT recipients (P = NS). Lower rates of acute rejection and major infection were evidenced in SKPT patients receiving alemtuzumab induction therapy. Comparable kidney and pancreas graft survival rates were observed in AA and non-AA recipients despite a higher prevalence of a "type 2 diabetes" phenotype in AA. Results comparable to those achieved in insulinopenic diabetics were found in the transplantation of type 2 diabetics with detectable C-peptide levels.

CONCLUSION: In the new millennium, acceptable medium-term outcomes can be achieved in SKPT and SPTs as nearly 2/3rds of patients are insulin independent following pancreas transplantation.

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