Analysis of Volatile Anesthetic-Induced Organ Protection in Simultaneous Pancreas–Kidney Transplantation

Nora Jahn, Maria Theresa Völker, Sven Laudi, Sebastian Stehr, Stefan Schneeberger, Gerald Brandacher, Elisabeth Sucher, Sebastian Rademacher, Daniel Seehofer, Hans Michael Hau, Robert Sucher

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Background: Despite recent advances in surgical procedures and immunosuppressive regimes, early pancreatic graft dysfunction, mainly specified as ischemia–reperfusion injury (IRI)— Remains a common cause of pancreas graft failure with potentially worse outcomes in simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplantation (SPKT). Anesthetic conditioning is a widely described strategy to attenuate IRI and facilitate graft protection. Here, we investigate the effects of different volatile anesthetics (VAs) on early IRI-associated posttransplant clinical outcomes as well as graft function and outcome in SPKT recipients. Methods: Medical data of 105 patients undergoing SPKT between 1998–2018 were retrospectively analyzed and stratified according to the used VAs. The primary study endpoint was the association and effect of VAs on pancreas allograft failure following SPKT; secondary endpoint analyses included “IRI-associated posttransplant clinical outcome” as well as long-term graft function and outcome. Additionally, peak serum levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and lipase during the first 72 h after SPKT were determined and used as further markers for “pancreatic IRI” and graft injury. Typical clinicopathological characteristics and postoperative outcomes such as early graft outcome and long-term function were analyzed. Results: Of the 105 included patients in this study three VAs were used: isoflurane (n = 58 patients; 55%), sevoflurane (n = 22 patients; 21%), and desflurane (n = 25 patients, 24%). Donor and recipient characteristics were comparable between both groups. Early graft loss within 3 months (24% versus 5% versus 8%, p = 0.04) as well as IRI-associated postoperative clinical complications (pancreatitis: 21% versus 5% versus 5%, p = 0.04; vascular thrombosis: 13% versus 0% versus 5%; p = 0.09) occurred more frequently in the Isoflurane group compared with the sevoflurane and desflurane groups. Anesthesia with sevoflurane resulted in the lowest serum peak levels of lipase and CRP during the first 3 days after transplantation, followed by desflurane and isoflurane (p = 0.039 and p = 0.001, respectively). There was no difference with regard to 10-year pancreas graft survival as well as endocrine/metabolic function among all three VA groups. Multivariate analysis revealed the choice of VAs as an in-dependent prognostic factor for graft failure three months after SPKT (HR 0.38, 95%CI: 0.17–0.84; p = 0.029). Conclusions: In our study, sevoflurane and desflurane were associated with significantly increased early graft survival as well as decreased IRI-associated post-transplant clinical outcomes when compared with the isoflurane group and should be the focus of future clinical studies evaluating the positive effects of different VA agents in patients receiving SPKT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3385
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022


  • anesthesia
  • graft loss and graft function
  • graft outcome
  • ischemia–reperfusion injury
  • simultaneous pancreas–kidney transplantation
  • volatile anesthetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine

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