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Tuesday, 31 May 2005 10:21
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
Brain patches exposed patients to CJD
As many as 50 patients who received brain surgery in the 1980s may have been given tissue infected with Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (CJD), the human form of BSE or Mad Cow Disease.

The alarm was raised following the death of a 34-year-old patient in England, who became infected with CJD after receiving a contaminated Lyodura graft.

The operations, most of which were carried out at Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital, involved taking material from dead bodies to provide a dura – a thick patch for the outer layer of the brain.

However, the Lyodura was discontinued nine years ago after first being linked to CJD.

Now doctors are struggling to track down patients who received the patches between 1982 and 1992, as many medical records have been destroyed in line with national policy on the retention of records.

NHS Lothian has reported the discovery to the Department of Health’s CJD Incidents Panel and has stressed that the risks of infection were very small.

Dr Charles Swainson, medical director of NHS Lothian, said: “Risk of contamination is thought to be between 1982 and 1992, and there have been 150 cases of CJD associated with similar products worldwide, including six deaths in the UK.

”In Edinburgh, four to five patients per year may have had this material used. Many of the notes of these patients have been destroyed so it will be impossible to know whether this was used.

“There is no cause for concern . . . The CJD Surveillance Unit in Edinburgh is monitoring the situation and providing evidence to the coroner.”


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