WEDNESDAY, Jan. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Many U.S. transplant
surgeons unnecessarily shun organs from high-risk donors instead of
trying to develop new safeguards that would protect and inform
transplant recipients, a new study finds.
About one-third of transplant surgeons in the nation
"overreacted" to a 2007 case in which four patients in Chicago
contracted HIV after receiving organs from a single donor
unknowingly infected with HIV, the only such episode in 20 years,
according to the Johns Hopkins University researchers. They
surveyed 422 transplant surgeons about their attitudes and use of
organs from high-risk donors before and after the Chicago case.
High-risk donors include intravenous drug users, men who have
sex with men and prostitutes. These groups of people account for
nearly 10 percent of organ donations in the United States, and they
are tested for HIV and other infections before their organs are
approved for transplantation.
"There is ample evidence that many patients are better off receiving organs from high-risk donors than waiting for a different organ, but that's not what's happening in many transplant centers," study author Dr. Dorry L. Segev, an associate professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in a Hopkins news release.
In the Chicago case, it's believed that the donor's HIV
infection was too recent to show up on pre-transplantation
The study appears in the January issue of the
Archives of Internal Medicine.
The United Network for Organ Sharing has more about