Portal venous pressure changes after sequential clinical islet transplantation

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Sequential pancreatic islet transplantation via the portal vein has led to insulin independence in patients with type 1 diabetes. Complications associated with the injection of islets into the portal vein have been reported; therefore, in this study we sought to further characterize changes in portal venous pressure associated with islet infusion.


Pre- and posttransplant portal venous pressures were recorded in 50 consecutive transplant procedures in 26 patients receiving highly purified, heparinized allogeneic islet preparations via a radiologically placed portal venous cannula. Doppler ultrasound scans of the portal vein were completed within 24 hr of transplantation.


Posttransplant portal vein pressures rose significantly with sequential transplantation (12.4 mm Hg vs. 17.3 mm Hg, P <0.05). Portal pressure change correlated significantly with islet packed cell volume (r =0.66, P <0.001) and also with the number of islets transplanted (r =0.49, P <0.001). Segmental portal vein thrombosis was radiologically detected after two procedures (4%).


Multiple sequential islet transplants can be safely performed via the portal vein, provided that care is taken with islet purification and attention is paid to portal venous monitoring.

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