Objective: In patients with type 1 diabetes and end-stage renal disease, combined transplantation of a kidney together with a pancreas or isolated pancreatic islets are options to improve glycemic control. The aim of this study was to compare their long-term outcome with regard to metabolic control and surgical complication rate, as well as function of the transplanted kidney.
Research design and methods: We conducted a prospective cohort study in consecutive patients receiving either a pancreas or islet transplant simultaneously with or after kidney transplantation (simultaneous pancreas-kidney [SPK]/pancreas-after-kidney [PAK] or simultaneous islet-kidney [SIK]/islet-after-kidney [IAK] transplantation).
Results: Ninety-four patients who had undergone SPK/PAK transplantation were compared with 38 patients who had undergone SIK/IAK transplantation over a period of up to 13 years. HbA1c levels declined from 7.8 ± 1.3% (62 ± 14 mmol/mol) to 5.9 ± 1.1% (41 ± 12 mmol/mol), and from 8.0 ± 1.3% (64 ± 14 mmol/mol) to 6.5 ± 1.1% (48 ± 12 mmol/mol), respectively, in the SPK/PAK and SIK/IAK groups (P < 0.001 for both) and remained stable during follow-up, despite a reduction in the rate of severe hypoglycemia by >90%. The 5-year insulin independence rate was higher in the SPK/PAK group (73.6 vs. 9.3% in the SIK/IAK group), as was the rate of relaparotomy after transplantation (41.5 vs. 10.5% in the SIK/IAK group). There was no difference in the rate of kidney function decline.
Conclusions: During a long-term follow-up, SPK/PAK transplantation as well as SIK/IAK transplantation resulted in a sustained improvement of glycemic control with a slightly higher glycated hemoglobin level in the SIK/IAK group. While insulin independence is more common in whole-organ pancreas recipients, islet transplantation can be conducted with a much lower surgical complication rate and no difference in kidney function decline.
© 2015 by the American Diabetes Association. Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered.