Pancreas Transplant: An Option For Treatment of Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus
Koon, Kimberley Everett
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The syndrome of Type 1 diabetes mellitus includes abnormal blood glucose metabolism and is associated with development of retinopathy, nephropathy and neuropathy. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that destroys the beta cells in the islet of Langerhans in the pancreas. It is a catabolic disorder in which circulating insulin is absent and external replacement is required. The DCCT Research Group (1993) proved the value of a rigid schedule of insulin injections to reduce the development of complications. Pancreas islet cell transplantation and whole-organ pancreas transplant are surgical options that may cure Type 1 diabetes. This paper reviews the mechanism of end organ damage caused by the hyperglycemia of Type 1 diabetes, current medical and surgical therapy and describes patient eligibility criteria for transplant for use by the primary care provider.