Transplantation. 98(6):666-670, September 27, 2014.
Donor derived infections are a recognised complication of sold organ transplantation which can be minimised but not abolished. The relative shortage of organs means that risks of disease transmission must be balanced against the risk of decline of that organ. For the clinician and for the patient, understanding the extent of risk is essential so the appropriate decision is reached. Here, Kaul and colleagues review the records of potential donor-derived CNS infections. Ninety one potential cases were identified over a 33 months’ period: in this cohort, 12 had confirmed CNS infections and 6 transmitted infection to 10 of 15 recipients, of whom 5 died. In not all cases, was the diagnosis of infection a listed cause of donor death.
What does this manuscript tell us? It reminds patients and clinicians that donor derived infections can and do occur, with sometimes fatal outcomes: so patients must be suitably informed and clinicians alert to this possibility. It also reminds clinicians of the importance of awareness of donor derived infection (DDI) in the recipients, the need to report any suspicion of DDI to the carers of recipients of other organs and tissues from that donor but also the need to report the suspicion to the appropriate authority for not only for further investigation but to build up a library of knowledge and help inform an approach to manage risk appropriately.