Virtual HLA Crossmatching as a Means to Safely Expedite Transplantation of Imported Pancreata

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Abstract

Background

Imported pancreata accumulate cold ischemia time (CIT), limiting utilization and worsening outcomes. Flow cytometric crossmatching (FXM) is a standard method to assess recipient and donor compatibility, but can prolong CIT. Single-antigen bead assays allow for detection of recipient donor-specific HLA antibodies, enabling prediction of compatibility through a “virtual crossmatch” (VXM). This study investigates the utility and outcomes of VXM after transplantation of imported pancreata.

Methods

We retrospectively compared outcomes of 153 patients undergoing pancreas transplantation at our institution over a 3.5-year period.

Results

Three patient groups were analyzed based on geographic source of the pancreas graft and the type of prospective crossmatch performed: (1) imported VXM-only, n = 39; (2) imported VXM + FXM, n = 12; and (3) local VXM + FXM, n = 102. There were no episodes of hyperacute rejection and 1 episode of early antibody-mediated rejection (<90 days) in the imported VXM group. Death-censored graft survival, patient survival, and rejection rates were comparable among the recipient groups. For pancreata imported from United Network of Organ Sharing regions 3 and 4, proceeding to surgery without an FXM reduced CIT by 5.1 hours (P < 0.001). The time from organ arrival at the hospital to operation start was significantly shorter in the VXM-only group compared with the VXM + FXM group (P < 0.001).

Conclusions

Virtual crossmatch helps minimize CIT without increasing rejection or adversely affecting graft survival, making it a viable method to increase pancreas graft utilization across distant organ sharing regions.

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