Bladder drainage by the duodenal segment (DS) technique is currently the preferred method of pancreas transplantation (PTX) but is associated with unique complications. Over a 7-year period, 191 diabetic patients underwent 201 whole-organ PTXs with bladder drainage using a 6 to 8 cm length of DS as an exocrine conduit. A retrospective chart review was performed to document all DS morbidity. DS complications occurred in 38 cases (19%). Twelve patients developed DS leaks and required operative repair. DS bleeding was documented in 26 cases, necessitating cystoscopy in 22 patients and open repair in eight patients for significant hematuria. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) duodenitis was diagnosed in seven cases, with four presenting as DS leaks and three with hematuria. Five patients experienced ampullary obstruction early after PTX. Rejection of the DS was confirmed by biopsy in 13 patients, including eight cases of acute and five cases of chronic rejection. Two patients had stone formation from the DS staple line. Enteric conversion was performed in five patients for DS abnormalities (leaks in 2 cases, bleeding in 2, and CMV duodenitis in 1). Among patients with DS complications, patient survival is 84% and pancreas graft survival is 68% after a mean follow-up of 44 ± 12 months. Complications related to the DS remain an important source of morbidity but rarely cause death after PTX. In spite of unique side effects, transplantation of the DS remains an acceptable alternative for exocrine drainage after PTX.
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