Purpose: The standard method for pancreatic transplantation involves drainage of exocrine secretions into the urinary bladder with venous outflow into the systemic circulation. Despite the high success rate associated with this approach, it often leads to complications, including chemical cystitis, reflux pancreatitis, metabolic acidosis, and hyperinsulinemia. The authors developed a new technique of pancreatic transplantation with portal drainage of endocrine secretions and enteric drainage of exocrine secretions (PE), which theoretically should be more physiologic. Procedures: All patients were insulin dependent diabetics with end stage renal disease who underwent combined kidney pancreas transplantation. Between 1990 and 1994, 19 patients have been transplanted using intraperitoneal placement of the pancreas allograft with exocrine drainage into a Roux-en Y loop and venous drainage into the portal circulations (PE). A comparison group of all patients undergoing standard systemic-bladder (SB) transplantation between April 1989 and March 1993 (n = 28) also was studied. Patient follow-up ranges from 6 months to 5 years for the SB patients (mean = 2.5 years) and 6 months to 4 years for the PE patients (mean = 1.6 years). Routine follow-up includes documentation of the clinical course and detailed endocrine studies. Findings: Patient and graft actuarial survival at 1 and 3 years is no different for SB and PE patients. Urinary tract infections occurred in 89.3% of the SB patients (2.8/patient) versus 26.3% of the PE patients (0.25/patient, p ≤ 0.0001). None of the PE patients experienced hematuria compared with 53.6% of the SB patients (p ≤ 0.0001); however, two PE patients had melanotic episodes. The incidence of urinary retention and reflux pancreatitis was 32.1% versus 5.3% (p ≤ 0.028) for SB and PE groups, respectively. Patients in the SB group required sodium bicarbonate therapy (mean = 55 mEq/day) although no PE patient required routine therapy; despite this, SB patients experienced more episodes of acidosis (44 vs. 5). Endocrine studies indicate no difference in glycosylated hemoglobin or fasting and stimulated glucose values throughout the follow-up period. In contrast, hyperinsulinemia was evident in both fasting and stimulated tests for the SB patients, with values consistently two- to fivefold higher than those of the PE group. Conclusions: These results indicate that PE and SB pancreas transplantation are equivalent in terms of patient and graft survival and suggest that the PE approach is associated with a decreased incidence of metabolic and bladder related complications. In addition, the PE approach eliminates the state of peripheral hyperinsulinemia that characterizes the SB procedure. Continued follow up will be necessary to determine if long term outcomes will differ for patients with PE and SB grafts.
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