To determine the impact of pancreas transplantation on the quality of life of renal transplant recipients with diabetes.
In this quasi-experimental comparative study of 41 successful pancreas transplant (SP) recipients, 13 failed pancreas transplant (FP) recipients, and 28 kidney alone (KA) transplant recipients, we collected data from individuals who had their pancreas/kidney or kidney alone transplants ≥6 months before at a university tertiary care center. This study was an extension of a 1992 study of SP and FP recipients. The subject group was enlarged with additional pancreas/kidney recipients and a control group of KA recipients. Five dimensions of life quality were measured.
Groups did not differ significantly regarding age, gender, marital status, comorbidity, type of prior dialysis, current kidney function, length of time since transplant, physical activity, symptom burden, emotional state, and feelings of well-being. A significant time by group interaction occurred for quality of life (P = 0.0023) and health (P = 0.0001). Patients in the SP and KA groups perceived their past life and health quality to be significantly lower and their present and future life and health quality to be significantly better than did the FP group. The groups' major concerns differed significantly. The FP group's concern related to diabetes, the SP group's to immunosuppression, and the KA group's to graft rejection.
Patients with failed pancreas but successful kidney transplants see less improvement in their quality of life than do patients who meet their transplant goals, irrespective of whether they receive a pancreas.