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Transplant Proc. 2005 Oct;37(8):3564-6.

Obesity predicts increased overall complications following pancreas transplantation.

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Duke University Medical Center, Box 3443, Durham, NC 27710, USA.



We sought to evaluate the role of recipient body mass index (BMI) on postoperative complications in patients receiving pancreas transplants.


A single-institution retrospective study of 145 consecutive patients undergoing either simultaneous kidney pancreas (SPK) or pancreas after kidney (PAK) transplantation from January 1997 through December 2003. Variables analyzed included: age, sex, BMI, number of prior transplants, cytomegalovirus status of donor and recipient, postoperative insulin resistance, complications, and overall patient and graft survival. Differences in continuous variables and dichotomous variables were evaluated using two-tailed t test and Fisher exact test, respectively. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were employed to identify predictors of overall complications following surgery.


Obesity was defined by a BMI > or = 30. Of the 145 patients, 33 (23%) had a BMI > or = 30 and 112 (77%) had a BMI < 30. There was no significant difference in age or sex between obese and nonobese patients (P = .98 and P = .56, respectively). The type of transplantation, SPK or PAK, did not affect the complication rate (P = .36). Overall complications (infection, dehiscence, evisceration, ventral hernia, allograft failure, gangrene, necrotizing fasciitis, postoperative bleeding, or death) were significantly higher in the obese group (81% vs 40%, P < .001). Obesity was specifically associated with increased frequency of dehiscence, ventral hernia, intra-abdominal infection, gangrene, necrotizing fasciitis, and repeat laparotomy. Obese patients also had a threefold higher rate of graft pancreatitis/enteric leak. Multivariate logistic regression analysis identified age > or = 50 and BMI > or = 30 as independent predictors of overall complications following surgery (odds ratio 4.0, P = .014 and OR 6.8, P < .001, respectively). There was no difference identified between groups with regards to allograft failure, posttransplant insulin resistance, and death.


Obese patients are at increased risk of overall complications following pancreas transplantation. Specifically, obese patients experience higher frequency of dehiscence, ventral hernia, intra-abdominal infection, gangrene, and necrotizing fasciitis. This study demonstrates the need for careful postoperative monitoring in the obese patient.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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