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Stabilisation of diabetic retinopathy following simultaneous pancreas and kidney transplant
  1. I A Pearcea,
  2. B Ilangoa,
  3. R A Sellsb,
  4. D Wonga
  1. aSt Paul's Eye Unit, Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Liverpool L7 8XP, bTransplant Unit
  1. Mr D Wong, St Paul's Eye Unit, Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Liverpool L7 8XPshdwong{at}


BACKGROUND/AIMS Simultaneous pancreas and kidney transplantation (SPK) has become an important option in selected IDDM patients with end stage renal disease (ESRD). Successful SPK transplants are associated with long term normoglycaemic control and improved quality of life. However, debate still continues on the benefit to patients in terms of stabilisation or amelioration of diabetic retinopathy. The progression of diabetic retinopathy (DR) in a cohort of 20 SPK transplant patients is reported.

METHODS All patients were reviewed postoperatively with corrected visual acuity, slit lamp examination, and fundal biomicroscopy. Preoperative data were collected retrospectively and DR was considered unstable if there had been a drop in Snellen acuity greater than three lines or a need for laser photocoagulation or vitrectomy in the 2 years preoperatively.

RESULTS 20 patients who received SPK transplants between March 1983 and April 1994 were reviewed (mean age 35.1 years; mean duration of IDDM = 24.6 years). 17 patients still had functioning grafts at a mean follow up of 5.1 years. Nine of these patients had unstable DR before transplantation. Of these, 89% (8/9) had stabilised DR following transplantation with only a single case requiring laser photocoagulation. Of the eight patients that had stable DR before transplantation all had stable DR following transplantation. 41% of cases (7/17) required cataract surgery during the follow up period.

CONCLUSIONS Advanced diabetic retinopathy is present in a high proportion of cases managed with SPK transplant as a consequence of the duration of IDDM and the presence of ESRD. More than 90% of cases have stable DR following transplant.

  • diabetic retinopathy
  • pancreas transplant
  • kidney transplant
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