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AJT article reports on 10 years of potential donor-derived transmission events

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UNOS News Bureau

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It is very rare for patients receiving transplants to have a donor-derived disease transmission, according to a July study published online in the American Journal of Transplantation. The study, which analyzed a decade of incidents hospitals reported to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, found that such diseases occur in about 18 of every 10,000 patients.

Members of the OPTN Ad Hoc Disease Transmission Advisory Committee analyzed the data and wrote the article. In analyzing the data, they used a classification algorithm to measure the strength of evidence that a potential donor-derived transmission event (PDDTE) was a true instance of donor-derived transmission. Proven and probable cases were considered to be true transmissions for the purposes of the report.

Various committee members participated in conducting a review of PDDTE cases reported to the OPTN during the past 10 years—the first aggregate review in that large of a time period—to identify patterns in the types of potential cases, the time to disease presentation, and other characteristics of the potential cases. Although donor-derived transmission is rare, significant graft and patient mortality is associated with it.

Study findings included:

  • The rate of donor-derived disease transmissions that occurred varied, with transmissions of viral and bacterial pathogens among the most common.
  • Almost one-third of patients with proven or probable donor-derived transmission died or experienced graft loss after receiving a transplant. While less prevalent than infections, malignancies in particular accounted for a disproportionate number of deaths and graft failures, at nearly 38 percent.

The report highlights the value of the patient safety reporting mechanisms maintained by the OPTN and the effectiveness of current donor screening and evaluation practices by organ procurement organizations to detect transmittable diseases in potential organ donors.