Should pancreatectomy with islet cell autotransplantation in patients with chronic alcoholic pancreatitis be abandoned?

Julie Dunderdale, John C. McAuliffe, Sandre F. McNeal, Stacy M.J. Bryant, Brett D. Yancey, Grace Flowers, John D. Christein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Background: Pancreatectomy or drainage has been advocated for pain due to chronic pancreatitis. Islet cell autotransplantation (IAT) may improve quality of life (QOL); optimal patient selection has not been established. Study Design: Outcomes of 100 patients who underwent pancreatectomy with islet isolation between 2005 and 2012 were assessed by etiology (alcoholic pancreatitis [AP] 30%, and nonalcoholic pancreatitis [NAP] 70%). Insulin requirement, Short Form-36, and McGill Pain Questionnaires were assessed. Data were analyzed using SASv9.2. Results: Of the 100 patients, isolation was unsuccessful in 9 patients due to fibrosis. Alcoholic pancreatitis was associated with 7 of 9 failed isolations (23% vs 3%, p < 0.01), and all of these patients are now diabetic. Ninety-one patients (age 44 years, follow-up 19 months, 23% AP) underwent resection with IAT. Total islet yield (islet cell equivalents [IEQ]) and IEQ/kg body weight were less for patients with AP (81,000 vs 150,000, p < 0.01; 1,260 vs 2,190, respectively, p = 0.01) overall and more specifically, for total pancreatectomy (92,000 vs 188,000, respectively, p = 0.02). Twenty-eight (34%) of all patients who had resections and 15% of those undergoing total pancreatectomy are insulin free. Multivariate analysis identified AP as an independent predictor of insulin units/day (p = 0.01). Complete pre- and postoperative QOL and pain surveys were available on 69 patients. Patients with AP had less QOL improvement (1 of 8 vs 5 of 8 domains, p < 0.01) and "present pain" improvement at 2 years from preoperative levels in those with NAP; no improvement in QOL was seen in those with AP (NAP 2.7 to 1.2, p < 0.01; AP 2.7 to 2.2, p > 0.05). Conclusions: After pancreatic resection with planned IAT, AP resulted in failed isolations, lower yields, higher insulin requirements, poor long-term QOL improvement, and no improvement in pain scores compared with NAP. Further studies should define criteria for resection and IAT for patients with alcoholic chronic pancreatitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)591-596
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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