Bacterial infections are frequent in cadaveric organ donors and can be transmitted to the transplantation recipient, which could have devastating consequences for the recipients if adequate preventive measures are not adopted.
From the 355 consecutive brain dead cadaveric organ donors procured at our center in the last four years, 2000–2003, four of them (1.1%) had bacterial endocarditis as cause of death. The bacteria responsible for the endocarditis were Staphylococcus epidermidis, coagulase-negative Staphylococcus, Staphylococcus hominis and Streptococcus viridans, respectively. We performed five kidney and two liver transplantations on seven recipients. All donors and recipients received antibiotic treatment against the germ causing the respective endocarditis.
Infection by the bacteria responsible for the endocarditis in the respective donors was not transmitted to any of the recipients. Six of the seven recipients were alive with normal-functioning grafts after between 13 and 24 months' follow-up. Transplantectomy was performed on one kidney recipient due to thrombosis of the renal vein of the graft not related to the endocarditis.
Liver and kidney transplantation from donors dying from bacterial endocarditis can be performed without causing the transmission of infection to the recipient or the dysfunction of the graft.