Partial venous thrombosis of the pancreatic allografts after simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplantation

Gaetano Ciancio*, Merida Cespedes, Les Olson, Joshua Miller, George W. Burke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Despite new advances in transplantation, complete venous thrombosis (VT) of the pancreas after simultaneous pancreas-kidney (SPK) transplantation usually results in graft loss. Data are limited regarding the outcome and treatment of partial VT of the pancreas allograft. From July 1994 to December 1999, 126 patients with IDDM/end-stage renal disease underwent SPK with systemic bladder drainage at the University of Miami. We retrospectively reviewed our experience regarding the outcome and treatment options of partial VT of the pancreas allografts. From July 1994 to April 1997, partial VT was not seen in the first 66 SPK patients induced with anti-CD3 rnAb and oral or intravenous (i.v.) tacrolimus (TAC) in the operating room. From May 1997 to June 1999, 14 (29%) out of 48 patients had VT. These cases were identified following the i.v. use of TAC with anti-IL-2R antibody-induction therapy (7/15) or without (7/33). Partial thrombosis of the splenic vein (PTSV) was documented in 10 patients, 2 had complete thrombosis of the splenic vein (CTSV), 1 had partial thrombosis of the superior mesenteric vein (PTSMV), and 1 patient had PTSV and PTSMV. These were identified incidentally during routine color Doppler ultrasonography (CDU). None of these SPK recipients demonstrates a change in clinical parameters. The first 8 patients were systemically heparinized, followed by oral anticoagulation, except 1 patient with CTSV. He progressed to complete thrombosis of the pancreas allograft and was treated with percutaneous thrombectomy and urokinase infusion, followed by heparinization and oral anticoagulation. One patient required exploration for bleeding. In an attempt to reduce the morbidity of heparinization, we treated the next 6 patients with PTSV with aspirin followed by serial CDU. All 14 patients had preservation of the endocrine and exocrine pancreatic functions. CDU showed resolution with recanalization of the thrombosed vein(s). From July 1999 to December 1999, 12 SPK recipients were administered TAC orally with or without induction therapy with anti-IL-2R anti-body. So far, in this group, VT has not been identified. In summary, a total of 14 out of 126 patients (11%) had isolated VT with a mean follow-up of 36.4 months. Based on our experience, we suggest that extensive VT after pancreas transplantation, including splenic and superior mesenteric VT, be treated with heparin and subsequent oral anticoagulation for 3 months. For more limited, partial splenic VT, aspirin may be sufficient. Follow-up CDU is critical for a successful outcome. The i.v. use of TAC appears to be a risk factor for the increased incidence of VT. Currently, using IL-2rmAb as induction, TAC is started orally on postoperative days 3 or 4 and aspirin on postoperative day 2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)464-471
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Transplantation
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2000


  • Kidney transplants
  • Pancreas thrombosis
  • Pancreas transplantation
  • Partial thrombosis of the pancreas
  • Simultaneous pancreas
  • Tacrolimus
  • Venous thrombosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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