Pancreas transplantation for diabetes mellitus

J. D. Pirsch, C. Andrews, D. E. Hricik, M. A. Josephson, A. B. Leichtman, C. Y. Lu, L. B. Melton, V. K. Rao, R. R. Riggio, R. J. Stratta, M. R. Weir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Pancreas transplantation has become a viable option for the patient with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus with progressive renal failure. The most common type of pancreas transplantation is a simultaneous pancreas and kidney transplantation performed from a single cadaver donor (SPK). The next most common is pancreas transplantation after successful kidney transplantation (PAK). A few centers are performing pancreas transplantation alone (PTA) in diabetic recipients without renal disease but who have significant complications from their diabetes. Pancreas transplantation is associated with a higher morbidity than kidney transplantation alone. Most pancreas transplantation centers report a significant increase in acute rejection, which can lead to increased hospitalization and risk of opportunistic infection. In addition, the early era of pancreas transplantation was associated with significant surgical complications. However, with bladder drainage of the pancreas exocrine secretions, the surgical complication rate has decreased significantly. Despite medical and surgical complications, the overall results for pancreas transplantation are excellent, with 1-year graft survival of 75% for SPK transplantations and 48% for PAK and PTA transplant recipients. The effects of a pancreas transplantation on the secondary complications of diabetes have been studied extensively. Most studies have shown a modest improvement in secondary complications with the exception of diabetic retinopathy. The major benefit of pancreas transplantation appears to be enhanced quality of life for patients successfully transplanted. For these reasons, the Kidney-Pancreas Committee of the American Society of Transplant Physicians believes the current results of pancreas-kidney transplantation justify its use as a valid option for insulin-dependent diabetic transplant recipients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)444-450
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996


  • Pancreas transplantation
  • quality of life
  • rejection
  • results
  • secondary complications
  • surgical complications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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