Tympano-Ossicular Allografts and HIV Transmission

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Abstract

Objective: To evaluate the potential risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission by tympano-ossicular allografts by studying the efficacy of standard preservation techniques to eliminate the presence of proviral HIV-I DNA fragments in contaminated ossicles.

Study Design: Randomized single-blind prospective study on the ossicles of HIV-I patients.

Material: Ossicles of five patients who had died of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) (HIV-I infection) were taken within 6 hours postmortem and allocated randomly to a treatment and nontreatment group. Liver and skin biopsies were taken as positive control specimens.

Processing: The treatment group was processed with standard techniques (formaldehyde) for tympano-ossicular allograft preservation and the nontreatment group was only washed, dried, and stored in sterile tubes at −70$ege;without further processing.

Main Outcome Measure: Proviral HIV-I DNA was detected using polymerase chain reaction amplification techniques.

Results: No proviral HIV-I DNA was detected in any of the treated ossicles, whereas three of five sets of untreated ossicles were positive. The positive control specimens of all treated and nontreated sets were positive for proviral HIV-I DNA.

Conclusions: These results suggest that the preservation technique for tympano-ossicular allografts is safe with regard to HIV-I transmission.

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