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ES Journal of Case Reports

DOI: 10.59152/ESJCR/1044

ISSN: 2767-6560

Pancreas Transplantation Alone for Brittle Diabetes Mellitus

  • Review Article

  • Rainer WG Gruessner1,*, Angelika C Gruessner2
  • 1Professor of Surgery, State University of New York, USA
  • 2Professor of Medicine, State University of New York, USA
  • *Corresponding author: Rainer WG Gruessner, MD, FACS, Professor of Surgery, State University of New York, USA.
  • Received: December 04, 2023;Accepted: December 09, 2023; Published: December 12, 2023


Only about 8% of all pancreas transplants for insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus are performed in the Pancreas Transplant Alone (PTA) category. PTAs are primarily performed in diabetic, non-uremic patients with unstable glucose control, hypoglycemia unawareness, and an increased risk of diabetes-related mortality, and who have failed all of the more traditional approaches to glycemic control. Tremendous, yet not widely noticed, progress in PTA outcome has been made over the past two decades. PTA is a very safe procedure with 1-and 5-year patient survival rates of 98.3% and 90.5% according to International Pancreas Transplant Registry (IPTR) data. Since the introduction of tacrolimus and mycophenolate mofetil maintenance therapy in the 1990s and the use of depleting antibody induction therapy, PTA graft survival rates at 1-and 5-years posttransplant are 87.2% and 65.0%. To avoid the need for a future kidney after pancreas (KAP) transplant due to impaired pretransplant native kidney function and the posttransplant use of calcineurin inhibitors, the estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate (eGFR) of PTA candidates should be well within the normal range and preferably > 80 mL/min/1.73m². PTAs with stable, long-term function have been shown to have a positive impact on secondary complications of diabetes mellitus. Considering the significantly improved outcome results, PTA should become the pancreas transplant option of choice before the manifestation of devastating secondary complications (kidney failure, cardio-cerebrovascular events, and blindness) that require simultaneous pancreas and kidney (SPK) transplants in qualified candidates, but with higher morbidity and mortality risks. It is important for diabetologists, endocrinologists, and other health professionals involved in the care of diabetic patients to learn about these positive PTA outcome results. Despite improvements in intensive insulin therapy, insulin-delivering devices, bioartificial pancreas, and islet transplantation, a successful PTA is the only treatment option for patients with brittle diabetes that consistently restores normal glucose homeostasis long-term without exposing recipients to the risks of severe hypoglycemia and prevents, halts, or reverses the development or progression of secondary diabetes complications.


Pancreas Transplant Alone, Brittle Diabetes, Hypoglycemia Unawareness, Survival Benefit, Pancreas Transplantation for Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus.