Pig islet xenotransplantation acceptance in a Latin-American diabetic population


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Abstract

Progress in porcine islet xenotransplantation has been accompanied by studies on acceptance of this new procedure by patients, health professionals or the general public. Such studies have not been done in the Latin-American population. We conducted a questionnaire in 108 diabetes patients (insulin-dependent, n = 53; insulin-independent, n = 55) in a public hospital in Argentina. The questions addressed the general perception of the xenotransplant procedure and specific items related to the outcome (achieving insulin independence, improvement in metabolic control, delay in emergence of diabetic complications, need for repeat procedures, potential of transfer of infectious viruses, association with psychological problems, and anticipated success in relation to achieving a cure). Eighty-six (79%) of the patients accepted islet xenotransplantation; this incidence was not different for insulin-dependent or insulin-independent patients, patients with or without complications, or patients with good or poor metabolic control. Also, over 75% of patients accepted the procedure if this is only associated with a reduction in insulin requirement, if the procedure just delays but not prevents the onset of complications, or if the procedure needs to be performed every 6 months. Fifty-seven percent of patients indicated acceptance even if the potential transmission of a virus infection cannot be completely ruled out: this outcome was not affected by the outbreak of the H1N1 flu epidemic during the conduct of this study. Forty percent of patients indicated that living with porcine cells in their body could give psychological problems. We conclude that this population of Latin-American diabetic patients shows a high acceptance rate of a porcine islet xenotransplantation product.Abalovich A, Wechsler C, Lara S, Bervottini M. Pig islet xenotransplantation acceptance in a Latin-American diabetic population. Xenotransplantation 2010; 17: 263–266. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

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