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CDC Revises Guidelines to Reduce Transplant-Related Infections

In September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new proposed guidelines to prevent the transmission of viral infections through organ transplants. The draft guidelines, posted on the Federal Register on September 21, 2011, call for comprehensive screening of potential organ donors and enhanced organ testing. They focus on transmissible viruses, such as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV). They are open for public comment until November 21, 2011.


The guidelines have been created in response to more than 200 investigations of suspected transmissions of HIV, HBV and HCV through transplants. CDC, which participated in the investigations, was the lead scientific agency involved in writing the report. The original guidelines were developed in 1994 by the Public Health Service (PHS). According to the CDC release, the major changes from earlier PHS guidelines include:

  • Recommending HBV and HCV screening, in addition to HIV. Previous recommendations include only HIV.
  • 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 transmission of infection.
  • A revised set of donor risk factors that can give clinicians a more thorough picture of risks associated with donated organs.
  • These guidelines focus only on solid organs and vessel conduits, and not other tissues.

“Our first priority must be patient safety. These recommendations will save lives and reduce unintended disease in organ recipients,” said Matthew J. Kuehnert, MD, director of CDC′s Office of Blood, Organ, and Other Tissue Safety Office. “The guideline will help patients and their doctors have information they need to fully weigh risks and benefits of transplanting a particular organ.”  


Download “PHS Guideline for Reducing Transmission of HIV, HBV, and HCV Through Solid Organ Transplant,” in PDF or HTML.


Source: CDC media statement dated September 21, 2011


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