Open Access Research article

Bloodstream infection following 217 consecutive systemic-enteric drained pancreas transplants

Natalie Berger1, Sigmund Guggenbichler1, Wolfgang Steurer1, Christian Margreiter1, Gert Mayer2, Reinhold Kafka1, Walter Mark1, Alexander R Rosenkranz2, Raimund Margreiter1 and Hugo Bonatti13*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of General and Transplant Surgery, Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria

2 Clinical Division of Nephrology, Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria

3 Department of Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida, USA

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2006, 6:127  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-127

Published: 8 August 2006



Combined kidney pancreas transplantation (PTx) evolved as excellent treatment for diabetic nephropathy. Infections remain common and serious complications.


217 consecutive enteric drained PTxs performed from 1997 to 2004 were retrospectively analyzed with regard to bloodstream infection. Immunosuppression consisted of antithymocyteglobuline induction, tacrolimus, mycophenolic acid and steroids for the majority of cases. Standard perioperative antimicrobial prophylaxis consisted of pipercillin/tazobactam in combination with ciprofloxacin and fluconazole.


One year patient, pancreas and kidney graft survival were 96.4%, 88.5% and 94.8%, surgical complication rate was 35%, rejection rate 30% and rate of infection 59%. In total 46 sepsis episodes were diagnosed in 35 patients (16%) with a median onset on day 12 (range 1–45) post transplant. Sepsis source was intraabdominal infection (IAI) (n = 21), a contaminated central venous line (n = 10), wound infection (n = 5), urinary tract infection (n = 2) and graft transmitted (n = 2). Nine patients (4%) experienced multiple episodes of sepsis. Overall 65 pathogens (IAI sepsis 39, line sepsis 15, others 11) were isolated from blood. Gram positive cocci accounted for 50 isolates (77%): Coagulase negative staphylococci (n = 28, i.e. 43%) (nine multi-resistant), Staphylococcus aureus (n = 11, i.e. 17%) (four multi-resistant), enterococci (n = 9, i.e. 14%) (one E. faecium). Gram negative rods were cultured in twelve cases (18%). Patients with blood borne infection had a two year pancreas graft survival of 76.5% versus 89.4% for those without sepsis (p = 0.036), patient survival was not affected.


Sepsis remains a serious complication after PTx with significantly reduced pancreas graft, but not patient survival. The most common source is IAI.