Background. Historically, the clinical acceptability of pancreas-after-kidney (PAK) transplantation has been hampered by relatively high acute rejection rates and lower pancreas graft survival rates when compared with the more commonly performed simultaneous pancreas-kidney (SPK) transplantation. The purpose of this study was to compare PAK transplantation to SPK transplantation in the Thymoglobulin induction era. Methods. The authors reviewed all bladder-drained PAK (n=47) transplants receiving rabbit antithymocyte globulin induction from June 1998 to June 2002 and compared them with SPK (n=25) transplants during the same time period at their institution. The authors retrospectively studied data on demographics, patient survival, graft (pancreas and kidney) survival, complications, and biopsy-proven rejection episodes. Results. The actuarial 1-year patient survival was 93% for the PAK group versus 100% for the SPK group (P=not significant [NS]). The actuarial 1-year pancreas graft survival was 87% for the PAK group versus 92% for the SPK group (P=NS). Waiting time for PAK was significantly shorter than for SPK (6.3±5.2 vs. 16.2±13.7 months, P<0.05). Clinical acute rejection rates were similar in the two groups (4.3% for PAK vs. 4.0% for SPK). PAK recipients demonstrated a greater decline in renal function after transplantation compared with SPK. A multivariate analysis failed to elucidate the cause. Conclusions. Newer immunosuppressive regimens allow PAK transplant patients to achieve immunologic outcomes similar to SPK transplant patients. Although the shorter waiting time and the ability to use living-donor kidneys make PAK an increasingly attractive alternative to SPK transplantation, its effect on renal allograft function deserves further attention.
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