, Volume 34, Issue 1 Supplement, pp S89-S91

Ophthalmological follow-up of Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetic patients after kidney and pancreas transplantation

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We studied the effect of successful kidney and pancreas transplantation on visual function and diabetic retinopathy in 18 patients with long-term Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus (17 to 38 years) and with advanced proliferative retinopathy. The average age of the patients was 42 years. Prior to transplantation, 5 eyes were in end-stage ophthalmic complication due to neovascular glaucoma. An ophthalmological follow-up was performed between 1–6 years post-surgery. Analysis of the results showed that the diabetic retinopathy had stabilized after transplantation in 12 cases (66 %) with a supplementary photocoagulation in the majority of cases. The proliferation continued in 4 patients (22 %) leading to blindness in 2 patients and recurrence of vitreous haemorrhages despite the photocoagulation in the other 2 cases. An improvement was observed on fluorescein angiography in a patient with pre-papillar glial proliferation without photocoagulation. Ten patients were reported to have a cataract and were operated on in two cases before transplantation; in one patient, the cataract increased following transplantation. In conclusion, the kidney and pancreas transplantation was not effective in our patients in reversing the clinical and angiographic signs of diabetic retinopathy. Moreover, a worsening of the lesions was observed in some cases; this was probably due to the irreversible microangiopathic lesions due to advanced evolution of diabetes.