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Old 11-13-2007, 03:45 PM   #1
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4 get Aids from Organ Transplants

CHICAGO - An organ donor infected four transplant patients with the AIDS virus in what a donor group says is the first such transmission in the U.S. in at least 13 years.

The transplants occurred in January at three Chicago hospitals. The patients infected with HIV and the virus for hepatitis C did not learn of their status until the last two weeks, according to medical officials.

Dr. Michael Millis, chief of the transplantation program at the University of Chicago Hospitals, said his staff was told of the problem on Nov. 1, and brought in the two patients who had transplants there for testing the next morning.

"It was very surprising and devastating for them, I'll be honest, just as it would be for any of us," Millis said.

Initial tests on the donor for HIV, hepatitis and other conditions came back negative, most likely because the donor had acquired the infections in the last three weeks before death. Personal details about the donor were not released by medical official officials, who cited privacy laws.

Based on the negative test results, doctors at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Rush University Medical Center and the University of Chicago Medical Center went ahead with the transplants. Officials did not say which organs were transplanted.

The right procedures were followed in testing the donor, said Alison Smith, vice president for operations at Gift of Hope.

Joel Newman, a spokesman for the United Network for Organ Sharing, said there has not been another known case of HIV being transmitted from a donor to a recipient since federal high-risk donor guidelines were adopted in 1994.

Those guidelines were made in response to a 1985 case, when the AIDS virus was still relatively new and few safeguards were in place to prevent transmission.

Newman said Tuesday that officials were checking to see if there were any other similar cases before 1994.

Since the 1985 case, in which AIDS killed three patients who'd received organs from a Virginia man, there have been more than 400,000 organ transplants in the U.S. without a reported case of transmission through organs.

Millis said he thinks the process can be improved but may never be completely failproof.

"The organ supply is extraordinarily safe, but this has demonstrated that it's not 100 percent safe and it is never going to be 100 percent safe, at least with technology we have today," Millis said.
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Old 11-13-2007, 03:54 PM   #2
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Re: 4 get Aids from Organ Transplants

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Originally posted by Kiki


Initial tests on the donor for HIV, hepatitis and other conditions came back negative, most likely because the donor had acquired the infections in the last three weeks before death. Personal details about the donor were not released by medical official officials, who cited privacy laws.

Most likely? When exactly does one test positive after being inflicted...
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Old 11-13-2007, 04:05 PM   #3
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Re: Re: 4 get Aids from Organ Transplants

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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


Most likely? When exactly does one test positive after being inflicted...

Quote:
How long after a possible exposure should I be tested for HIV?
The time it takes for a person who has been infected with HIV to seroconvert (test positive) for HIV antibodies is commonly called the "Window Period".

Recent studies show that a test taken at least 12 weeks (3 months) after the last possible exposure to the virus provides highly accurate results. Based on those studies, many testing clinics in California and other places use a 3 month 'window period' for testing. Very, rarely, a person could take up to six months to produce antibodies and that is almost always a person with a severely compromised immune system due to another disease, such as leukemia.
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Old 11-13-2007, 05:02 PM   #4
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So then since there is a defined "window period", why isn't it being used in testing transplant organs?
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Old 11-13-2007, 05:17 PM   #5
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I dont think that transplant organs can really survive outside the body for that long
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Old 11-13-2007, 07:18 PM   #6
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I dont think that transplant organs can really survive outside the body for that long
Yeah, that kind of slipped my mind. It's been one of those days...
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Old 11-13-2007, 07:21 PM   #7
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That's right, you couldn't store an organ for it being tested after three months. You have to get it implanted as soon as possible.
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Old 11-13-2007, 07:25 PM   #8
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It's suprising it doesn't happen more then... I'm sure there are a lot of donors that "live it up" when they know they only have a few weeks left.
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Old 11-13-2007, 07:30 PM   #9
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I'm sure there are a few donors that live it up, but I don't think this would be the case for the majority of them. In a lot of instances, the donor dies suddenly and there is no real opportunity to live it up. For other people they are probably way too sick to leave the hospital let alone go out and do things that could possibly result in an HIV infection.
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Old 11-13-2007, 07:37 PM   #10
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Well of course, I'm just saying that I'm suprised that it's only been 2 cases...
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Old 11-13-2007, 08:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar
It's suprising it doesn't happen more then... I'm sure there are a lot of donors that "live it up" when they know they only have a few weeks left.
don't most donors come from car accidents?
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Old 11-13-2007, 09:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
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don't most donors come from car accidents?


I don't know the percentages, but anyone can sign the donor release, it's just a matter of how healthy the organs are when they die...
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Old 11-14-2007, 07:09 AM   #13
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It's more than just the health of the donors or their organs.
You have to be braindead before heartdead, for example. Otherwise you can't use the organs.

About two years ago three or four people contracted rabies after a patient has died. What the doctors didn't know was that she had been to India shortly before and got infected there.
The one who just got implanted a retina was lucky, and I think there was another one that did receive organs that weren't infectious, but for the others it was like a death sentence.
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Old 11-14-2007, 01:03 PM   #14
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yeah Im a bit surprised that in 13 some years there haven't been any cases of infected HIV organs.

It's very devistating to hear that these people have been infected, however on a medical stand point, it is pretty impressive that medicine's advanced that much to go a solid 13 years without this happening.

I think it just proves they still have alot more work to do to figure out some way to ensure this eventually NEVER happens again.
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