Total Pancreatectomy with Islet Autotransplantation for Refractory Recurrent Pancreatitis

A recent study (MD Bellin et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2016; 14: 1317-23) describes the use of Total Pancreatectomy with Islet Autotransplantation (TPIAT) in 49 patients (mean age 32.8 years).  This study included 6 children.

All of these patients met strict criteria for recurrent acute pancreatitis and lacked imaging or functional evidence for chronic pancreatitis.  All 49 required narcotics for pain management prior to TPIAT.

The surgical technique for TPIAT is well-described in the report.  Patients underwent total pancreatectomy, splenectomy, cholecystectomy and partial duodenectomy with continuity restored via doudenoduodenostomy or Roux-en-Y duodenojejunostomy.  The islets were isolated and then infused intraportally.

Key findings:

  • At 1 year following TPIAT, 22 (46%) reported no use of narcotic pain medications.
  • Health-related quality of life scores improved (see Figure 3)
  • Diabetes is a common post-op concern.  Approximately half were insulin-independent at 1 and 2 years out from surgery, with one-third remaining so at 5 years.
  • Histopathology was consistent with chronic pancreatitis in 37 (76%) indicating that current imaging/functional features do not reliably identify chronic pancreatitis with adequate sensitivity.

In the discussion, the authors note the selected patients, due to having normal caliber pancreatitis ducts, were not candidates for surgical drainage procedures like the Puestow procedure.  They also note that the Puestow procedure can compromise later islet cell isolation.

My take: TPIAT is an important option in those with severe recurrent or persistent pancreatitis disease.

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