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Enhanced Tracking of Tissue for Transplantation

John S. DePaolo, BA; James M. Barbeau, MD, JD
JAMA. 2013;309(5):443-444. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.145043.
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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates that tissue banks provide 1.5 million tissue grafts annually, often supplying hospitals in several different states or even countries with tissue from a single donor. Tissue allografts have become a vitally important global industry. Nevertheless, tracking mechanisms that exist in other medical contexts have notable deficiencies with respect to tracking tissues. Current tissue tracking practices do not ensure rapid communication through the distribution chain as soon as a problem is discovered, which is crucial for quarantining tissues before they are used. If the tissue has already been implanted, it is often difficult to identify the recipient to provide appropriate medical care.

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