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J Am Coll Surg. 1999 Sep;189(3):305-13.

Surgical complications after pancreas transplantation with portal-enteric drainage.

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Department of Surgery, University of Kentucky Medical Center, Lexington, USA.



Despite recent advances, surgical complications remain an important source of morbidity after pancreas transplantation (PTX). Several previous studies have delineated the surgical complications after PTX with systemic-bladder (S-B) drainage, but data are limited regarding the incidence and outcomes of surgical complications after PTX with portal-enteric (P-E) drainage.


We retrospectively studied surgical complications after 83 vascularized PTXs with P-E drainage in 79 patients (65 simultaneous kidney-PTXs [SKPT] and 18 solitary PTXs [SPT], 8 pancreas alone and 10 pancreas after kidney transplantation). Twelve (15%) were retransplants. A surgical complication was defined as the need for repeat laparotomy within the first 3 months after PTX.


A total of 53 surgical complications requiring repeat laparotomy occurred in 31 patients (37%). The incidence of surgical complications in SKPT and SPT was 38% and 33%, respectively. The most common indications for repeat laparotomy were: vascular thrombosis in 13% (SKPT 14% and SPT 11%), intraabdominal infection in 10% (SKPT 12% and SPT 0%), intraabdominal bleeding in 8% (SKPT 8% and SPT 11%), and duodenal allograft leak in 4% (SKPT 3% and SPT 6%). Patient survival rates at 1 and 3 years with versus without surgical complications were 84% and 80% versus 94% and 86%, respectively (p = NS). Pancreas graft survival rates at 1 and 3 years with versus without surgical complications were 48% and 44% versus 89% and 76%, respectively (p < 0.0001). The incidence of surgical complications was 45% in the first 42 P-E transplantations performed between 1990 and 1995, compared with 29% in the next 41 transplantations performed during 1996 and 1997 (p = NS). The mean number of repeat laparotomies per patient decreased from 1.2 in the former group to 0.5 in the latter group (p = NS). The incidence rates of vascular thrombosis, intraabdominal infection, and duodenal leak in the former and latter groups were 17% versus 10%, 12% versus 7%, and 2% versus 5%, respectively.


Surgical complications after PTX are common, and their incidence and outcomes with P-E drainage are similar to those with S-B drainage. The complication rate does not vary according to the type of transplant (SKPT versus SPT). Increasing experience with P-E drainage results in a decreased incidence of surgical complications.

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