Pancreas and islet transplantation offer recipients greatly improved quality of life and the possibility of a cure of diabetes. Both are associated with reduced mortality and diabetes-complications risks but they have very different suitability criteria. Suitable patients should be considered for assessment with consideration of the long-term burden of immunosuppression on the patient.
- Pancreas and islet transplants offer eligible patients with type 1 diabetes improved quality of life.
- Whole pancreas transplantation in Australia is usually performed with a kidney transplant (simultaneous kidney-pancreas transplant; SKPT).
- SKPT has a high long-term success rate and improves kidney-transplant outcomes.
- Islet transplantation is a less invasive procedure suitable for select people with type 1 diabetes who have good renal function, and is very successful at ameliorating severe, recurrent hypoglycaemia.
- Both forms of transplantation require long-term immunosuppression, and the potential side-effects of these must be considered for each patient.
- If a patient is interested in having and may be suitable for a transplant, consider referring them for assessment.