BACKGROUND: Pancreas retransplantation is associated with increased rates of technical failure and rejection compared to other organ transplants. As such, it is not routinely done, and outcomes are mostly known through registry data. Here we analyze the outcomes of primary versus retransplant for all pancreas transplants done in our program over nearly 35 years. METHODS: Donor and recipient characteristics and outcomes data were prospectively gathered and recorded in our institutional database. Outcomes of primary and retransplants were reported overall, and then subgrouped by number (second, third, fourth). An in-depth analysis of transplants done after 2003 was included. Rates of technical failure, 1 year acute rejection, graft survival, and patient survival were compared. RESULTS: Two thousand one hundred forty-five pancreas transplants were performed at our institution between 1978 and 2012. Four hundred fifteen of these were retransplants. Improvements were seen in technical failure rates and graft survival for both primary and retransplants over time. There were no significant differences in technical failure or patient survival for primary versus retransplants overall, or by transplant number (second, third, fourth). Modern era retransplants had more acute rejection in the first year after transplantation. Retransplants (vs primary) had decreased mid-term death censored graft survival. Transplant type continues to be an important driver of outcome. CONCLUSIONS: Retransplant outcomes have improved over time, yet increased rejection and immunologic graft loss rates remain associated with pancreas retransplantation. In contrast, risk of technical failure and patient death for primary versus retransplants are similar. Therefore, pancreas retransplantation in highly selected candidates should be considered in experienced centers.
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