OBJECTIVES: Surgeons needing human cardiovascular tissue for implantation in their patients are confronted with cardiovascular tissue banks that use different methods to identify and decontaminate micro-organisms. To elucidate these differences, we compared the quality of processing methods in 20 tissue banks and 1 reference laboratory. We did this to validate the results for accepting or rejecting tissue. We included the decontamination methods used and the influence of antibiotic cocktails and residues with results and controls. The minor details of the processes were not included.
METHODS: To compare the outcomes of microbiological testing and decontamination methods of heart valve allografts in cardiovascular tissue banks, an international quality round was organized. Twenty cardiovascular tissue banks participated in this quality round. The quality round method was validated first and consisted of sending purposely contaminated human heart valve tissue samples with known micro-organisms to the participants. The participants identified the micro-organisms using their local decontamination methods.
RESULTS: Seventeen of the 20 participants correctly identified the micro-organisms; if these samples were heart valves to be released for implantation, 3 of the 20 participants would have decided to accept their result for release. Decontamination was shown not to be effective in 13 tissue banks because of growth of the organisms after decontamination. Articles in the literature revealed that antibiotics are effective at 36°C and not, or less so, at 2-8°C. The decontamination procedure, if it is validated, will ensure that the tissue contains no known micro-organisms.
CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that the quality round method of sending contaminated tissues and assessing the results of the microbiological cultures is an effective way of validating the processes of tissue banks. Only when harmonization, based on validated methods, has been achieved, will surgeons be able to fully rely on the methods used and have confidence in the consistent sterility of the tissue grafts. Tissue banks should validate their methods so that all stakeholders can trust the outcomes.

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doi.org/10.1093/ejcts/ezx178, hdl.handle.net/1765/103016
European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

de By, T., McDonald, C. (Carl), Süßner, S. (Susanne), Davies, J. (Jill), Heng, W.L. (Wee Ling), Jashari, R. (Ramadan), … Petit, P. (2017). Validation of microbiological testing in cardiovascular tissue banks. European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, 52(5), 895–900. doi:10.1093/ejcts/ezx178