Cadaveric Testing and Safety
With the recent stories hitting the news regarding a couple of non-transplant tissue banks not testing their specimens, the topic of infectious virus detection such as, HIV I and II and Hepatitis B & C has become a popular discussion. Many people who handle human tissue have also begun to question whether other clinical factors prior to the donor’s death could also pose a risk to their participants.
Every day, surgeons are exposed to patients in the Operating Room who may carry numerous infectious organisms that cause clinical disease and many times, the surgeon is unaware of this. In the case of safety, there is an advantage to working with cadaveric tissue. If working with an accredited organization, the specimens will have been screened and tested prior to use for infectious diseases such as HIV 1 & II and Hepatitis B & C. In regards to other medical conditions, such as sepsis, the following can be noted:
- Most infectious organisms that cause clinical disease cannot sustain themselves in dead tissue
- All dead tissue decomposes by both chemical and bacterial action
- The bacteria that are involved in decomposition are by and large anaerobic organism that are ubiquitous in nature and almost impossible to eradicate in a post mortem state
- The risk of handling such human tissue regarding transmission of infection is quite low
Whether these agents are deactivated, degraded, destroyed in time, or chemically altered in post mortem state is of little consequence if contact occurs any time prior to such actions.
Therefore the protection offered by the use of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is paramount in eliminating the risk such agents may potentially possess.
Personal Protection Equipment consists of hair covers, mask, eye protection, impervious gowns, shoe covers and gloves. Science Care recommends the use of all PPE when coming into contact with tissue. These materials should also be restricted to the areas of concern (labs, morgues, operating rooms and demonstration platforms, etc.) and MUST be kept in those areas and not used outside such places in order to prevent cross contamination.
Science Care has always been a leader in our industry in support of our mission – “to ensure the utmost safety for our clients and respect for donors,” and we will continue to provide cutting edge concepts to fulfill that mission.