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OBJECTIVE: To determine long-term outcomes for islet-alone and islet-after-kidney transplantation in adults with type 1 diabetes complicated by impaired awareness of hypoglycemia. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: This was a prospective interventional and observational cohort study of islet-alone (n = 48) and islet-after-kidney (n = 24) transplant recipients followed for up to 8 years after intraportal infusion of one or more purified human pancreatic islet products under standardized immunosuppression. Outcomes included duration of islet graft survival (stimulated C-peptide ≥0.3 ng/mL), on-target glycemic control (HbA1c <7.0%), freedom from severe hypoglycemia, and insulin independence. RESULTS: Of the 48 islet-alone and 24 islet-after-kidney transplantation recipients, 26 and 8 completed long-term follow-up with islet graft function, 15 and 7 withdrew from follow-up with islet graft function, and 7 and 9 experienced islet graft failure, respectively. Actuarial islet graft survival at median and final follow-up was 84% and 56% for islet-alone and 69% and 49% for islet-after-kidney (P = 0.007) with 77% and 49% of islet-alone and 57% and 35% of islet-after-kidney transplantation recipients maintaining posttransplant HbA1c <7.0% (P = 0.0017); freedom from severe hypoglycemia was maintained at >90% in both cohorts. Insulin independence was achieved by 74% of islet-alone and islet-after-kidney transplantation recipients, with more than one-half maintaining insulin independence during long-term follow-up. Kidney function remained stable during long-term follow-up in both cohorts, and rates of sensitization against HLA were low. Severe adverse events occurred at 0.31 per patient-year for islet-alone and 0.43 per patient-year for islet-after-kidney transplantation. CONCLUSIONS: Islet transplantation results in durable islet graft survival permitting achievement of glycemic targets in the absence of severe hypoglycemia for most appropriately indicated recipients having impaired awareness of hypoglycemia, with acceptable safety of added immunosuppression for both islet-alone and islet-after-kidney transplantation.

Original publication




Journal article


Diabetes Care

Publication Date





2967 - 2975