Diabetes Research Institute, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, FL 33136, USA.
As islet cell transplantation gains increasing interest following results published by the Edmonton group, results that have been successfully reproduced by several centers nationwide and abroad, the need of guidelines to standardize the procedure becomes highly important. We detail the key steps of the infusion procedure utilizing a closed gravity fed bag system utilized at our institution since 1990, which consists of a 600-ml transfer bag and a 150-ml rinse bag connected via sterile tubing. The use of gravity allows for a control rate of infusion as well as providing a safety mechanism through natural reduction of flow that parallels any increase in portal pressure, therefore allowing the operator to prevent precipitous pressure rises. Reports on significant rise in portal pressures during islet cell infusion as well as portal vein thrombosis have been published. Infusion at these centers was carried out using a syringe method. Using our technique, portal vein thrombosis (partial or complete) was not detected in any of the infusions performed at our institution. This method may be of assistance to minimize some of the observed complications associated with islet transplant procedures and has now been adapted by most centers performing clinical islet transplantation.