Guidelines updated for organ transplants

Sept. 21, 2011 at 11:22 PM
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ATLANTA, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- Draft guidelines on organ transplants require more donor screening and testing to help prevent the spread of disease via transplant, U.S. officials say.

Dr. Matthew J. Kuehnert, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Protection's Office of Blood, Organ and Other Tissue Safety Office, said in addition to screening for human immunodeficiency virus, transplants should be screened for hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C.

The CDC participated in more than 200 investigations of suspected unexpected transmission of HIV, hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C through transplants from 2007 to 2010 and of those cases that were confirmed, some led to the death of the transplant patient.

"Our first priority must be patient safety. These recommendations will save lives and reduce unintended disease in organ recipients," Kuehnert said in a statement. "The guideline will help patients and their doctors have information they need to fully weigh risks and benefits of transplanting a particular organ."

The draft also include:

-- Recommending updated, more sensitive laboratory tests for organs. The ultimate goal is to ensure organ recipients are informed of risk to the extent possible and protected from unintentional infection transmission.

-- A revised set of donor risk factors that can give clinicians a more thorough picture about possible risks associated with donors' organs.

The Food and Drug Administration implemented more comprehensive regulations for tissue and semen donors, leaving the focus of the Draft Public Health Service Guideline on organ safety.

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