Pancreas Transplantation: An Alarming Crisis in Confidence

R. J. Stratta, A. C. Gruessner, J. S. Odorico, J. A. Fridell, R. W.G. Gruessner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


In the past decade, the annual number of pancreas transplantations performed in the United States has steadily declined. From 2004 to 2011, the overall number of simultaneous pancreas–kidney (SPK) transplantations in the United States declined by 10%, whereas the decreases in pancreas after kidney (PAK) and pancreas transplant alone (PTA) procedures were 55% and 34%, respectively. Paradoxically, this has occurred in the setting of improvements in graft and patient survival outcomes and transplanting higher-risk patients. Only 11 centers in the United States currently perform ≥20 pancreas transplantations per year, and most centers perform <5 pancreas transplantations annually; many do not perform PAKs or PTAs. This national trend in decreasing numbers of pancreas transplantations is related to a number of factors including lack of a primary referral source, improvements in diabetes care and management, changing donor and recipient considerations, inadequate training opportunities, and increasing risk aversion because of regulatory scrutiny. A national initiative is needed to “reinvigorate” SPK and PAK procedures as preferred transplantation options for appropriately selected uremic patients taking insulin regardless of C-peptide levels or “type” of diabetes. Moreover, many patients may benefit from PTAs because all categories of pancreas transplantation are not only life enhancing but also life extending procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2556-2562
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • clinical research/practice
  • diabetes
  • donors and donation: deceased
  • editorial/personal viewpoint
  • kidney transplantation/nephrology
  • organ procurement
  • organ procurement and allocation
  • pancreas/simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplantation
  • patient referral
  • recipient selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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