Donor insulin therapy in intensive care predicts early outcomes after pancreas transplantation

Iestyn M. Shapey*, Angela Summers, Hussein Khambalia, Petros Yiannoullou, Catherine Fullwood, Neil A. Hanley, Titus Augustine, Martin K. Rutter, David van Dellen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
37 Downloads (Pure)


Aims/hypothesis: Approximately 50% of organ donors develop hyperglycaemia in intensive care, which is managed with insulin therapy. We aimed to determine the relationships between donor insulin use (DIU) and graft failure in pancreas transplantation.

Methods: UK Transplant Registry organ donor data were linked with national data from the UK solid pancreas transplant programme. All pancreas transplants performed between 2004 and 2016 with complete follow-up data were included. Logistic regression models determined associations between DIU and causes of graft failure within 3 months. Area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (aROC) and net reclassification improvement (NRI) assessed the added value of DIU as a predictor of graft failure.

Results: In 2168 pancreas transplant recipients, 1112 (51%) donors were insulin-treated. DIU was associated with a higher risk of graft loss from isolated islet failure: OR (95% CI), 1.79 (1.05, 3.07), p = 0.03, and this relationship was duration/dose dependent. DIU was also associated with a higher risk of graft loss from anastomotic leak (2.72 [1.07, 6.92], p = 0.04) and a lower risk of graft loss from thrombosis (0.62 [0.39, 0.96], p = 0.03), although duration/dose-dependent relationships were only identified in pancreas transplant alone/pancreas after kidney transplant recipients with grafts failing due to thrombosis (0.86 [0.74, 0.99], p = 0.03). The relationships between donor insulin characteristics and isolated islet failure remained significant after adjusting for potential confounders: DIU 1.75 (1.02, 2.99), p = 0.04; duration 1.08 (1.01, 1.16), p = 0.03. In multivariable analyses, donor insulin characteristics remained significant predictors of lower risk of graft thrombosis in pancreas transplant alone/pancreas after kidney transplant recipients: DIU, 0.34 (0.13, 0.90), p = 0.03; insulin duration/dose, 0.02 (0.001, 0.85), p = 0.04. When data on insulin were added to models predicting isolated islet failure, a significant improvement in discrimination and risk reclassification was observed in all models: no DIU aROC 0.56; DIU aROC 0.57, p = 0.86; NRI 0.28, p < 0.00001; insulin duration aROC 0.60, p = 0.47; NRI 0.35, p < 0.00001.

Conclusions/interpretation: DIU predicts graft survival in pancreas transplant recipients. This assessment could help improve donor selection and thereby improve patient and graft outcomes. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1375-1384
Number of pages10
Issue number6
Early online date4 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Insulin
  • Islet
  • Organ donor
  • Pancreas
  • Transplant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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