Current Transplantation Reports

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 304–314 | Cite as

The Current State of Pancreas Transplantation in the USA—A Registry Report

  • Angelika C. GruessnerEmail author
  • Rainer W. G. Gruessner
Pancreas (D Axelrod and N Turgeon, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Pancreas



A successful pancreas transplantation is still the only method to provide long-term insulin independence and provide good metabolic control for patients with type I diabetes. Since the first pancreas transplant in 1966, the patient and graft survival after pancreas transplantation improved significantly. The aim of this report was to study the most recent outcome of pancreas transplants.

Recent Findings

Between 2011 and 2016, 5159 primary deceased donor pancreas transplants in diabetic patients were performed—4342 (84%) SPK, 399 PAK (8%), and 418 (8%) PTA. One-year (3-year) SPK patient survival reached 98% (95%), PAK 97% (93%), and PTA 98% (96%). The most influential risk factor for patient survival in all three categories was a failed graft. In SPK, older recipients and being on dialysis at the time of transplant also carried an increased risk to die. SPK pancreas graft function improved to 90% at 1-year and 83% at 3-year post-transplant; 87% and 74% for PAK; and 84% and 71% for PTA. One-year (3-year) kidney graft function for the simultaneous SPK kidney was 96% (90%). The difference in outcome between SPK and solitary transplants is still significant but the gap is narrowing. A risk factor for pancreas graft failure was especially young recipient age, but a careful donor selection can improve outcome. The majority of recipients received depleting antibodies for induction followed by a maintenance protocol of Tacrolimus in combination with MMF. Steroids were used more often in SPK (70%) compared to solitary pancreas transplants.


In summary, outcome after pancreas transplantation has significantly improved due to refinement in immunosuppressive protocols and better donor and recipient selection. It can be successfully performed in patients with labile diabetes and will not only improve the quality of life of the patient but also can be life extending.


Pancreas transplantation Simultaneous pancreas kidney transplants (SPK) Pancreas after kidney transplant (PAK) Pancreas transplants alone (PTA) Patient survival Graft survival Immunological graft loss Technical complications 


Compliance with Ethical Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angelika C. Gruessner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rainer W. G. Gruessner
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of NephrologySUNY Downstate Medical CenterBrooklynUSA
  2. 2.Department of SurgerySUNY Downstate Medical CenterBrooklynUSA

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