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Diabetologia. 1991 Aug;34 Suppl 1:S95-9.

Diabetic retinopathy and pancreas transplantation: a 3-year follow-up.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, FRG.


The effect of simultaneous pancreas and kidney transplantation on diabetic retinopathy was studied in a prospective study with 30 patients (57 eyes) and 15 control subjects (26 eyes), patients who lost the pancreas, but preserved kidney function. There was no significant difference between the groups after a mean observation time of more than 35 months (a range of 12 to 96 months). Both populations had a stable retinopathy during follow-up. This seems to be a consequence of the far advanced retinopathy (mean duration of type 1 diabetes was 22 years) and the high percentage of coagulated eyes (81% and 85%, respectively), but is not related to the organ transplantation. A closer look at the few patients who did not receive laser coagulation (14 patient and 6 control eyes), produced a different result. Four control eyes experienced a significant deterioration of the retinopathy which had been stable before rejection. It is the most important and so far never mentioned aspect of this study, that periods of destabilisation are a definite threat for the retinopathy. Nevertheless, it seems questionable whether we will ever be able to make a definite statement on the pancreas-eye relation, as long as the transplantation must be restricted to carefully selected late-stage diabetic subjects.

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