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Minerva Chirurgica 2003 October;58(5):745-54


language: Italian

Pancreas transplantation. Experience in the first 50 patients at the Niguarda Hospital of Milan: clinical outcome and open questions

Sansalone C. V., Aseni P., Giacomoni A., Sammartino C., Colella G., Osio C., Lauterio A., Mangoni I., Vertemati M., De Roberto A., Civati G., Forti D.


Aim. Personal experience in 50 patients who underwent combined pancreas-kidney transplantation (PKT), with particular reference to mortality and surgical complications is reported.
Methods. Between October 1993 and December 2001, 50 adult patients (36 males and 14 females), mean age 37 years (range 25-60), with chronic renal failure, and Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM), underwent 54 pancreas transplantation (4 patients retransplanted) and 52 kidney transplantation (2 patients retransplanted). Different surgical procedures have been employed during the period of 9 years. All patients underwent the same immunosuppressive regimen; the mean length of follow-up was 49 months. During the follow-up, 30 out of 43 patients who maintained a good graft function fulfilled a questionnaire about their quality of life following the criteria of the Medical Outcome Study (MOS).
Results. All patients became euglycemic immediately after the surgical procedure. One patient died post-operatively due to pulmorary thromboembolism after pancreas retransplantation for acute venous thrombosis; 1 other patient died 9 months after the procedure for acute myocardial infarction. Four patients developed acute venous thrombosis. All these patients underwent pancreas retransplantation, but 3 of these patients who survived the procedure lose the graft function for chronic rejection within 1 year. Fourteen patients showed acute rejection, 7 patients CMV infection. Three patients showed hyperchloremic acidosis, 12 patients bronchopulmonar infection and 7 patients urinary infection. Among surgical complications anastomotic fistula in 6 patients was also recorded. Five patients out of 50 lose the pancreatic graft function. After 1 from PKT, 83% of patients who fulfilled a questionnaire were strongly satisfied about their quality of life. No patients developed de novo tumors following chronic immunosuppression. The 5-year survival for patient, kidney and pancreas was 95.6%, 93.4% and 84.7% respectively.
Conclusions. Our experience in 50 patients submitted to PKT shows no graft loss due to acute rejection. Surgical complications (acute venous thrombosis) and chronic rejection are the most important factors leading to graft loss. A graft in ''head-up'' position, a short portal vein of the graft, a ''no-touch technique'' during pancreas retrieval can be some of the most important factors which can reduce the rate of surgical complications. Combined kidney-pancreas transplantation showed in our experience a low mortality rate and a moderate incidence of morbidity and should be considered, at the moment, the treatment of choice for patients with renal failure and IDDM.

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