Background. The incidence of delayed endocrine pancreas graft function and its impact on long-term outcome after simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplantation are unknown. Methods. We studied 54 technically successful adult type I insulin-dependent diabetic recipients of cadaver, whole organ, bladder-drained simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplants (mean age, 37.6 years; 65% male, 35% female; 9% pancreas retransplants; 63% on chronic pretransplant dialysis; mean duration of diabetes, 25.1 years). Insulin was administered during the first 2 weeks after transplantation, as needed, to keep blood glucose <150 mg/dl. Delayed endocrine pancreas graft function was defined as total, cumulative insulin requirement of >30 U between day 5 and day 10, and/or >15 U between day 11 and day 15. Quadruple immunosuppression was used for all recipients. Results. The incidence of delayed endocrine pancreas graft function was 69%. By univariate analysis, delayed endocrine graft function was associated with pretransplant recipient weight >80 kg (P=0.04), donor age >45 years (P=0.02), and cardiocerebrovascular (P=0.06) and nontraumatic causes of donor death (P=0.02). The incidence of acute pancreas rejection episodes was similar for recipients without and with delayed endocrine pancreas graft function. Pancreas graft survival at 1 and 3 years was 94% and 82% without versus 76% and 59% with delayed endocrine graft function (P=0.03). Conclusions. Increased pancreas graft failure after delayed endocrine function was a consequence of insufficient functional reserve (e.g., older donors) rather than increased immunogenicity. Pretransplant reduction of recipient weight and careful donor selection are therefore crucial in order to decrease the incidence of delayed endocrine pancreas graft function and its negative impact on long-term outcome.
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