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Minerva Medica 2017 October;108(5):405-18

DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4806.17.05224-7


language: English

Update on pancreatic transplantation on the management of diabetes

Carlo LOMBARDO 1, Vittorio G. PERRONE 1, Gabriella AMORESE 2, Fabio VISTOLI 1, Walter BARONTI 3, Piero MARCHETTI 3, Ugo BOGGI 1

1 Division of General and Transplant Surgery, Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria Pisana, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy; 2 Division of Anesthesia and Intensive Care, Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria Pisana, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy; 3 Division of Metabolism and Cell Transplantation, Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria Pisana, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy


Pancreas transplantation is the only therapy that can restore insulin independence in beta-cell penic diabetic recipients. Because of the need for life-long immunosuppression and the intial surgical risk associated with the transplant procedure, Pancreas transplantation is a therapeutic option only in selected diabetic patients. Based on renal function, three main populations of diabetic recipients of a pancreas transplant can be identified: uremic patients, posturemic patients (following successful kidney transplantation), and non-uremic patients. Uremic patients are best treated by simultaneous kidney-pancreas transplantation with grafts obtained from the same deceased donor. Posturemic patients can receive a pancreas after kidney transplantation, if the previous renal graft has a good functional reserve. Non-uremic patients can receive a pancreas alone transplant if their diabetes is poorly controlled, despite optimal insulin therapy, suffer from unawareness hypoglycemia events and/or develop progressive chronic complications of diabetes. The results of pancreas transplantation have improved over the years and are currently not inferior to those of renal transplantation in non-diabetic recipients. A functioning pancreatic graft can prolong the life of diabetic recipients, improves their quality of life, and can halt, or reverse, the progression of chronic complications of diabetes. Unfortunately, because of ageing of donor population and lack of timely referral of potential recipients, the annual volume of pancreas transplants is declining. Considering that the results of pancreas transplantation depend on center volume, and that adequate center volume is required also for training of newer generations of transplant physcians and surgeons, centralization of pancreas transplantation activity should be considered.

KEY WORDS: Pancreas transplantation - Kidney transplantation - Diabetes complications

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