Background: The objective of this study was to examine how effectively pancreas transplants provide long-term glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM). We used guidelines from the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to appropriately classify recipients with type 2 DM (vs. type 1 DM).
Results: From 1994 through 2002, a total of 17 patients with type 2 DM underwent a pancreas transplant at our center. Mean recipient age was 52.5 yr. The mean age at diabetes onset was 35.7 yr; mean duration, 16.8 yr. Most recipients had one or more secondary complications related to their diabetes: retinopathy (94%), neuropathy (76%), or nephropathy (65%). At the time of their transplant, three (18%) were on oral hypoglycemic agents alone and 14 (82%) were on insulin therapy. Of the 17 transplants, seven (41%) were a simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplant (SPK); four (24%), pancreas after kidney transplant (PAK); and six (35%), pancreas transplant alone (PTA). One recipient died during the perioperative period because of aspiration. The other 16 recipients became euglycemic post-transplant and had a functional graft at 1 yr post-transplant (patient and graft survival rates, 94%). Now, with a mean follow-up of 4.3 yr post-transplant, the patient survival rate is 71%. The four additional deaths were because of sepsis (n = 2), suicide (n = 1), and unknown cause (n = 1). All four of these recipients were insulin-independent at the time of death, although one was on an oral hypoglycemic agent. Of the 12 recipients currently alive, 11 remain euglycemic without requiring insulin therapy or oral hypoglycemic agents; one began insulin therapy 1.2 yr post-transplant (current daily dose, 60 units).
Conclusion: These findings suggest that pancreas transplants can provide excellent glucose control in recipients with type 2 DM. All 16 (94%) of our recipients whose transplant was technically successful were rendered euglycemic. Long-term results were comparable with those seen in transplant recipients with type 1 DM.