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JAMA. 2003 Dec 3;290(21):2817-23.

Survival after pancreas transplantation in patients with diabetes and preserved kidney function.

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  • 1Transplantation and Autoimmunity Branch, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, Md 20892, USA.

Erratum in

  • JAMA. 2004 Apr 7;291(13):1566.



Solitary pancreas transplantation (ie, pancreas alone or pancreas-after-kidney) for diabetes mellitus remains controversial due to procedure-associated morbidity/mortality, toxicity of immunosuppression, expense, and unproven effects on the secondary complications of diabetes. Whether transplantation offers a survival advantage over conventional therapies for diabetes is unknown.


To determine the association between solitary pancreas transplantation and survival in patients with diabetes and preserved kidney function.


Retrospective observational cohort study conducted at 124 transplant centers in the United States, in 11 572 patients with diabetes mellitus on the waiting list for pancreas transplantation (pancreas alone, pancreas-after-kidney, or simultaneous pancreas-kidney) at the United Network for Organ Sharing/Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network between January 1, 1995, and December 31, 2000. All patients receiving a multiorgan (other than simultaneous pancreas-kidney) transplant were excluded, as were those listed for solitary pancreas transplantation who had a serum creatinine level greater than 2 mg/dL (176.8 micromol/L) at time of listing, or who ultimately received a simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplant.


All-cause mortality within 4 years following transplantation (or within a comparable time on the waiting list for the group not undergoing transplantation).


Overall relative risk of all-cause mortality for transplant recipients (compared with patients awaiting the same procedure) over 4 years of follow-up was 1.57 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.98-2.53; P =.06) for pancreas transplant alone, 1.42 (95% CI, 1.03-1.94; P =.03) for pancreas-after-kidney transplant, and 0.43 (95% CI, 0.39-0.48) for simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplant. Transplant patient 1- and 4-year survival rates were 96.5% and 85.2% for pancreas transplant alone, respectively, and 95.3% and 84.5% for pancreas-after-kidney transplant, while 1- and 4-year survival rates for patients on the waiting list were 97.6% and 92.1% for pancreas transplant alone, respectively, and 97.1% and 88.1% for pancreas-after-kidney transplant.


From 1995-2000, survival for those with diabetes and preserved kidney function and receiving a solitary pancreas transplant was significantly worse compared with the survival of waiting-list patients receiving conventional therapy.

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