Islet transplantation is a promising therapy used to achieve glycometabolic control in a select subgroup of individuals with type I diabetes. However, features that characterize human islet isolation success prior to transplantation are not standardized and lack validation. We conducted a retrospective analysis of 806 isolation records from 14 pancreas-processing laboratories, considering variables from relevant studies in the last 15 years. The outcome was defined as post-purification islet equivalent count, dichotomized into yields > or =315 000 or < or =220 000. Univariate analysis showed that donor cause of death and use of hormonal medications negatively influenced outcome. Conversely, pancreata from heavier donors and those containing elevated levels of surface fat positively influence outcome, as did heavier pancreata and donors with normal amylase levels. Multivariable logistic regression analysis identified the positive impact on outcome of surgically intact pancreata and donors with normal liver function, and confirmed that younger donors, increased body mass index, shorter cold ischemia times, no administration of fluid/electrolyte medications, absence of organ edema, use of University of Wisconsin preservation solution and a fatty pancreas improves outcome. In conclusion, this multicenter analysis highlights the importance of carefully reviewing all donor, pancreas and processing parameters prior to isolation and transplantation.