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Safe tissue grafts

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 19 April 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1141

Should achieve same standards as for blood transfusion

  1. D Fehily, Head of tissue servicesa,
  2. R M Warwick, Lead consultant for tissue and stem cell donor carea
  1. a National Blood Service, London and the South East, North London Blood Centre, London NW9 5BG

    Orthopaedic patients receiving transfusions may worry about the safety of the blood they receive but be blissfully unaware of the possible risks associated with the allograft bone in their femur or hip. Any fears about blood transfusion are largely unfounded. Blood donors in Britain are unremunerated volunteers who are carefully selected and screened by the National Blood Transfusion Service, and donated blood is processed and tracked in a highly regulated environment in which biannual inspections result in the issue of special licenses by the Medicine Control Agency.

    Tissue banking in Britain is under no such quality control. In total hip replacements the femoral head, which would otherwise be discarded, may be banked for transplantation to other patients, most commonly in revision hip surgery.1 Cadavers provide an alternative source of donor bone. A tissue bank can be established by any organisation without regard to licensing, inspection, or adherence to any standards. There is evidence …

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