Wall Street Journal (09.22.11) - Monday, September 26, 2011
New draft guidelines for reducing the risk of HIV and
hepatitis B and C virus (HBV, HCV) transmission through solid
organ transplants are too restrictive, according to the head
of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons. The CDC
proposal issued Wednesday is open to public comment for 60
days, and ASTS plans to weigh in during the process, said
Mitchell Henry, its president.
"We support guidelines which help to decrease disease
transmission, but we want them to be evidence-based and
balanced by the risks of dying without an organ transplant,"
Using the more sensitive and expensive nucleic acid test � for
HIV, HCV, and under certain circumstances HBV � would not
always be feasible, such as when an organ is flown to a remote
location where no labs are available, Henry added.
ASTS believes the expansion of donors considered risky
includes too many population groups that might otherwise be
good candidates, Henry said. Potential donors who have had sex
with two or more partners in the last year "could cover three-
quarters of college kids in America," he noted.
While the guidelines are not enforceable, they often become
mandatory standards of care, Henry said. ASTS plans to submit
criticism that its concerns have not been taken into account,
as well as suggestions about how to modify the guidelines.
The draft rules are meant to give potential organ recipients
and their physicians as much information as possible about
transmission risks so they can make informed decisions, said
Dr. Matthew J. Kuehnert, director of CDC's Office of Blood,
Organ, and Other Tissue Safety.
"The guidelines may actually expand available organs by
providing more confidence in the risk assessment of the donor,
which will in turn improve the chances a patient and doctor
will accept the organ," said Kuehnert.
For more information about the proposal, visit: