Procurement of the human pancreas for pancreatic islet transplantation

Transplantation. 2004 Aug 15;78(3):481-3. doi: 10.1097/


Background: The full potential of pancreatic islet transplantation (PIT) has not been realized because of the difficulties associated with islet isolation, particularly when associated with a remote islet isolation center. Herein, we describe the principles of pancreatic procurement for PIT, which have allowed us to achieve a successful pancreatic islet isolation rate 67% of the time when using a remote islet isolation center.

Methods: Between January 16, 2002 and June 30, 2003, 39 pancreata were procured and processed for PIT at a distant islet isolation center. All pancreata were procured by a single surgeon, and special attention was given to careful dissection of the pancreas, maintenance of arterial inflow and the pressure differential between arterial and venous systems during perfusion, rapid organ cooling, and rapid removal of the pancreas from the body.

Results: Twenty-six of 39 (67%) procured pancreata yielded more tha 5,000 islet equivalents (IEQ)/kg recipient weight and were transplanted. Median IEQs per isolation was 413,867, whereas median purity and viability were 65% and 100%, respectively. The median time for pancreatic excision was 34 minutes, whereas cold ischemia time was 6 hours and 40 minutes.

Discussion: The principles we have adopted for pancreatic procurement for PIT have resulted in a 67% islet isolation success rate despite the maintenance of more than 5,000 IEQ/kg and the use of a remote islet isolation center.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cadaver
  • Cause of Death
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Islets of Langerhans Transplantation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreas Transplantation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pancreas*
  • Tissue Donors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / methods*
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / statistics & numerical data