Pancreas transplantation at the University of Maryland.

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Clinical transplants


1. The University of Maryland pancreas transplant program was initiated in July 1991. Through December 1996, 230 pancreas transplants were performed (145 SPK, 64 PAK, 21 PTA). Overall one-year patient and graft survival rates were 95.5% and 78.9%, respectively. 2. The majority of pancreases have been transplanted simultaneously with a kidney. The one-year patient, pancreas and kidney survival rates for SPK transplants were 95.5%, 91.9%, and 82.5%, respectively. 3. Pancreas alone (PA = PAK or PTA) transplants have represented an increasing proportion of the total in recent years. Although the results of PA were previously inferior to SPK transplants, recent developments have made the outcomes equivalent. The advent of FK and MMF have sharply reduced graft losses due to irreversible rejection. Percutaneous pancreas biopsy now provides a safe and effective means to diagnose acute rejection in a timely manner. Anticoagulation protocols have markedly reduced the risk of idiopathic postoperative graft thrombosis. The most recent series of 71 PA cases at our center had a one-year graft survival rate of 75.8% overall, and 88.2% for the 61 technically successful ones. 4. The most widely practiced pancreas transplant technique in the US today includes bladder drainage of exocrine secretions. This results in a high incidence of bladder complications, which can be avoided by enteric exocrine drainage. The most recent series of pancreas transplants at the University of Maryland have been enteric drained, encompassing about half of all cases. Adoption of this technique has eliminated bladder complications, and has not been associated with an increase in anastomotic leaks, infectious complications or graft loss. 5. Most pancreas transplants have had systemic venous drainage via the iliac vein. We recently adopted the portal venous drainage technique, since it eliminates the peripheral hyperinsulinemia associated with systemic drainage, and may therefore improve lipid metabolism and possibly reduce the risk of progression of atherosclerosis. Early results have been favorable. 6. At present the major determinant of pancreas transplant outcome is donor quality. We have emphasized the importance of using pancreases free of fatty or fibrotic transformation, which have been skillfully procured from young, stable, non-obese donors.

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