Long-term diabetes complications after pancreas transplantation

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The intention of this study is to summarize present knowledge about adverse effects of hyperglycemia in diabetes, and in this context review more recent data concerning the effects of pancreas transplantation on a wide range of diabetic complications.

Recent findings

Effective blood glucose control by insulin delays progression of microvascular complications and probably improves survival in type 1 diabetes. A successful pancreas transplantation combined with a kidney graft has recently been found to prevent diabetic kidney lesions, and registry data support improved long-term patient survival. Cardiovascular mortality was reduced in one study, even though coronary heart disease was not significantly altered. Advanced coronary lesions may be too advanced in these patients at baseline. However, with a successful single pancreas transplant, which is generally performed in patients with near-normal kidney function, pancreas transplantation may improve left ventricular function. Development of retinopathy and neuropathy is delayed with functioning pancreas grafts, and both quality of life and certain skin lesions may improve after pancreas transplantation.

Summary

In patients with type 1 diabetes, pancreas transplantation may improve cardiac outcomes and ameliorate diabetic lesions in the kidney transplant. Also quality of life, neuropathy, retinopathy, and healing of certain skin lesions may be improved.

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