Diabet. Med. 27, 812–822 (2010)
Aims For selected individuals with complex Type 1 diabetes, pancreatic islet transplantation (IT) offers the potential of excellent glycaemic control without significant hypoglycaemia, balanced by the need for ongoing systemic immunosuppression. Increasingly, patient-reported outcomes (PROs) are considered alongside biomedical outcomes as a measure of transplant success. PROs in IT have not previously been compared directly with the closest alternate treatment option, pancreas transplant alone (PTA) or pancreas after kidney (PAK).
Methods We used a Population, Intervention, Comparisons, Outcomes (PICO) strategy to search Scopus and screened 314 references for inclusion.
Results Twelve studies [including PRO assessment of PAK, PTA, islet-after kidney (IAK) and islet transplant alone (ITA); n = 7–205] used a total of nine specified and two unspecified PRO measures. Results were mixed but identified some benefits which remained apparent up to 36 months post-transplant, including improvements in fear of hypoglycaemia, as well as some aspects of diabetes-specific quality of life (QoL) and general health status. Negative outcomes included short-term pain associated with the procedure, immunosuppressant side effects and depressed mood associated with loss of graft function.
Conclusions The mixed results may be attributable to limited sample sizes. Also, some PRO measures may lack sensitivity to detect actual changes, as they exclude issues and domains of life likely to be important for QoL post-transplantation and when patients may no longer perceive themselves to have diabetes. Thus, the full impact of islet/pancreas transplantation (alone or after kidney) on QoL is unknown. Furthermore, no studies have assessed patient satisfaction, which may highlight further advantages and disadvantages of transplantation.