Deceased Organ Donors With a History of Increased Risk Behavior for the Transmission of Blood-Borne Viral Infection: The UK Experience

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Abstract

Background

Deceased organ donors are routinely screened for behaviors that increase the risk of transmissible blood-borne viral (BBV) infection, but the impact of this information on organ donation and transplant outcome is not well documented. Our aim was to establish the impact of such behavior on organ donation and utilization, as well transplant recipient outcomes.

Methods

We identified all UK deceased organ donors from 2003 to 2015 with a disclosed history of increased risk behavior (IRB) including intravenous drug use (IVDU), imprisonment and increased risk sexual behavior.

Results

Of 17 262 potential donors, 659 (3.8%) had IRB for BBV and 285 (1.7%) were seropositive for BBV, of whom half had a history of IRB (mostly IVDU [78.5%]). Of actual donors with IRB, 393 were seronegative for viral markers at time of donation. A history of recent IVDU was associated with fewer potential donors proceeding to become actual organ donors (64% vs 75%, P = 0.007). Donors with IRB provided 1091 organs for transplantation (624 kidneys and 467 other organs). Transplant outcome was similar in recipients of organs from donors with and without IRB. There were 3 cases of unexpected hepatitis C virus transmission, all from an active IVDU donor who was hepatitis C virus seronegative at time of donation, but was found to be viremic on retrospective testing.

Conclusions

Donors with a history of IRB provide a valuable source of organs for transplantation with good transplant outcomes and there is scope for increasing the use of organs from such donors.

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