Researchers from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and colleagues reported their findings today at the 6th Annual American Society of Transplant Surgeons State of the Art Winter Symposium in Scottsdale, Ariz.
The researchers found that metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms that increase the risk of heart disease, is also a risk factor for deterioration of kidney function in simultaneous kidney-pancreas transplant recipients. The risk is especially high when the pancreas transplant fails. The study involved 298 patients at 25 transplant centers.
"The findings suggest that we need to do whatever we can to keep the transplanted pancreas functioning because it may protect against development of long-term kidney transplant dysfunction," said Jeffrey Rogers, M.D., a Wake Forest transplant surgeon. "The findings also underscore the importance of controlling weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol the variables that define metabolic syndrome."
In kidney and pancreas transplantation, advances in immunosuppressive drug therapy have significantly reduced the risk of acute rejection. Transplant surgeons are now increasingly focused on developing strategies to prevent or slow a gradual deterioration in kidney function that can lead to the need for a second transplant.
Previous research had shown that metabolic syndrome is a risk factor for chronic deterioration of kidney function in kidney transplant recipients. However, the effect of metabolic syndrome on the outcome of simultaneous kidney-pancreas transplantation and the significance of having a functioning pancreas transplant in these patients has not been previously described.