February 2002 Bulletin

CDC seeks method to ensure donor tissue is safe

The investigation into the deaths of three Minnesota knee surgery patients (see December 2001 AAOS Bulletin) has become a national effort to find a way to keep cadaver tissue safe for transplant. Dr. Marion Kainer, epidemic intelligence service officer for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), said investigators are still trying to determine how a deadly bacterium, Clostridium sordelli, got into what was used to provide tissue for a knee procedure on a 23-year-old man. The bacterium also was found in the man after he died from septic shock on November 11. His death certificate lists his manner of death as natural. Eight other patients in seven other states received tissue from the same cadaver, and one developed an infection after a knee operation similar to the procedure performed in Minnesota. That patient was treated successfully. The CDC is investigating reports of other patients who reported Clostridium infections after receiving tissues from donors at tissue banks other than the one that supplied the graft used in Minnesota, Dr. Kainer said. No other deaths have been reported. Dr. Kainer said her concern has turned to finding a reliable method to ensure that tissue is safe when it arrives in a sterile hospital setting.


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