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From: TSS ()
Subject: CJD FEARS MAY HIT TISSUE DONATIONS
Date: April 22, 2005 at 11:10 am PST

CJD fears may hit tissue donations

James Meikle, health correspondent
Friday April 22, 2005
The Guardian

Transplant services may restrict the surgical use of tissues from patients who have undergone blood transfusions to protect recipients from the small risk of catching the human form of BSE or similar diseases.

Supplies of bone, skin, tendons, ligaments, corneas and heart valves would all be affected if new measures were introduced, meaning some patients with chronic health problems would face longer waits for treatment.

Organ and bone marrow transplants would, however, not be included, since there are already far too few suitable donations to meet demand.

CJD fears may hit tissue donations

James Meikle, health correspondent
Friday April 22, 2005
The Guardian

Transplant services may restrict the surgical use of tissues from patients who have undergone blood transfusions to protect recipients from the small risk of catching the human form of BSE or similar diseases.

Supplies of bone, skin, tendons, ligaments, corneas and heart valves would all be affected if new measures were introduced, meaning some patients with chronic health problems would face longer waits for treatment.

Organ and bone marrow transplants would, however, not be included, since there are already far too few suitable donations to meet demand.

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People needing new hearts, lungs, kidneys or livers are often so ill that the benefit of a transplant would far outweigh even the slight risk of infection by the CJD family of diseases.

Anyone who has had blood transfusions since 1980 is already banned from donating blood following strong evidence that two people have been accidentally infected through transfusions. This has led to a fall of 5-10% in potential donors.

Now safety advisers and tissue banks want to balance the risks and benefits on tissue donation, although no decisions are likely until the autumn.

Bone tissue is often used in trying to remedy hip and knee replacements that have gone wrong, and in repairs to the spinal column.

Burns victims need skin tissue, 2,350 people a year get donated corneas, and others have transplanted heart valves, ligaments and tendons.

Health officials want to establish how many transplant donors have had blood donations either years before or in the week leading up to their deaths.

Many are likely to have done so, since they are often victims of road or other accidents or haemorrhages, who will have received highly intensive care from hospitals desperately seeking to save their lives.

Blood services yesterday asked Seac, the government's specialist BSE/CJD advisory committee, whether those who had had a transfusion only a few days before their deaths posed less risk of their tissues accidentally infecting recipients than those who had transfusion years before, since the CJD infections can take years to develop symptoms.

If that was the case, then only the second group's tissues might not be used. In that case, supplies might not be hit as seriously as if all donors who had received transfusions were barred from donation.

Members of Seac face a lack of much evidence on that question about potential infectivity, and even that from animal models differs slightly.

Their inclination is to believe that donors with very recent transfusions pose less of a hazard, although they will not be making a statement to that effect while they consider exactly how far they can go.

More than 6,000 people are awaiting organ transplants, yet last year 1,244 donors, most of them dead, supplied fewer than 2,850 organs.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/bse/article/0,2763,1466312,00.html#article_continue

TSS






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