The performance of many laboratories can be evaluated by participation in external quality assessment (EQA) schemes. EQA allows for comparison of a laboratory’s performance with a source outside the laboratory—either a peer group of laboratories or a reference laboratory. Such EQA schemes do not exist in tissue banking despite the fact that tissue establishments (TE) perform very complex procedures. This paper describes the first ever EQA scheme in the field specifically assessing microbiological aspects in heart valve (HV) banking. Twenty-two TEs participated. Three HV tissue samples were sent to each participating TE—two contaminated with non-pathogenic micro-organisms and a third negative control. The aims were to isolate and identify the micro-organisms present and then to successfully decontaminate the HV tissue using the routine standard operating procedures of the TE. Eight of the TEs were able to isolate and identify all contaminating micro-organisms present, and of these, five also successfully decontaminated the tissue; 13 TEs failed to establish the identity of one or more of the contaminants; five TEs appear to have introduced contamination during the processing or testing of the tissue; and eight failed to successfully decontaminate the HV tissue. This initiative provides TEs with an international benchmark for tissue product microbiology testing. It has identified significant variation in practice and in the ability of different TEs to identify the presence of contamination. There is now work ongoing with the aim of setting up a regular EQA scheme for HV banking.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Heart valves, Banking, Transplantation, Microbiology, Contamination
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10096-019-03576-1, hdl.handle.net/1765/118952
Journal European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases: an international journal on pathogenesis, diagnosis, epidemiology, therapy, and prevention of infectious diseases
Citation
Zahra, S., Galea, G, Jashari, R., Petit, P, & de By, T. (2019). Validation of microbiological testing in cardiovascular tissue establishments: results of a second international quality-round trial. European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases: an international journal on pathogenesis, diagnosis, epidemiology, therapy, and prevention of infectious diseases, 38(8), 1481–1490. doi:10.1007/s10096-019-03576-1