Human tissue oversight in hospitals: an AABB survey

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Reports of human tissue allograft–transmitted infections have underscored the need for better accounting of allografts in health-care facilities. The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) implemented new storage and issuance tissue standards for hospital oversight as of July 1, 2005. This study sought to survey hospital tissue responsibilities.


The AABB Tissue Task Force conducted a Web-based survey distributed to all 904 hospital institutional members in January 2005. The survey asked about tissue type used, breadth of responsibility, hospital department involvement, and views on AABB involvement. Data from 402 of 904 (45%) respondents were tabulated and analyzed.


Among the 402 respondents, 325 (81%) used allogeneic and/or autologous human tissue. The most frequently used tissues were musculoskeletal (n = 240, 74%) and skin (n = 169, 52%) allografts. The department of surgery (e.g., operating room; n = 245, 76%) most often had responsibility for tissue use, followed by the blood bank (i.e., transfusion service; n = 164, 51%); surgery most frequently had responsibility for all tissue types except peripheral blood progenitor cells. Only 32 of 402 (8%) respondents had plans for increased oversight in the next 12 months; 129 of 178 (72%) thought there was a role for AABB in developing guidance on hospital tissue responsibilities.


In this survey, most AABB member hospital respondents indicated facility use of allogeneic and/or autologous tissues. Although tissue allograft responsibility by surgery was extensive, hospital blood banks also had significant involvement. Few blood banks, however, plan increased oversight in the near future. Given JCAHO standards, blood banks have an opportunity to assist their hospital in planning for assigned tissue responsibilities and oversight to ensure patient safety.

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