Background. The most common type of pancreas transplantation is whole pancreaticoduodenal (with bladder drainage) from a cadaver donor. Complications can arise not only from the pancreas itself but also from the simultaneously transplanted duodenum. The purpose of this study was to analyze the incidence, diagnosis, and treatment of duodenal complications and their impact on patient and pancreas graft survival rates. Methods. Our retrospective study is based on 425 pancreaticoduodenal transplantations performed between July 1, 1986, and June 30, 1994. Complications pertaining to the duodenal segment were labeled early if they occurred within the first postoperative month and late otherwise. Mean follow-up was 55 months (range, 13 to 108 months). Results. We noted 85 (20%) duodenal complications: duodenal leaks (n = 42), hematuria (n = 26), recurrent urinary tract infections (n = 9), duodenal ulceration or necrosis (n = 6), and bladder stones (n = 2). Of these complications, 40 (48%) required surgical intervention. In all, duodenal complications resulted in 14 (16%) enteric conversions and eight (9%) pancreas graft losses (six because of duodenal leak and 2 because of hematuria). The mortality rate from duodenal complications was 0%. Conclusions. Duodenal complications were common, but they were not associated with a high rate of pancreas graft loss (only 9%). With early diagnosis and treatment, morbidity can be reduced and death avoided in pancreas transplant recipients.
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