Once tissues are received, the processing organization stores the tissues in temperature controlled sub-zero freezers while donor medical history and the results of cultures and blood tests are reviewed.
Following release from quality assurance evaluation, a processing plan is developed to determine the types of tissues that are needed, with priority for the local recovery area.
Aseptic processing rooms are made primarily of stainless steel. Each room is thoroughly cleaned with strong disinfectants following each case. All air entering the room goes through a series of filters that eliminate airborne contamination. All processing reagents that contact the tissues are sterile, pharmaceutical-grade quality. Technicians garbed in sterile attire, clean and shape tissues into individual pieces.
Steps involved in processing include cleaning, cutting, washing with high-pressure water-picks, soaking in disinfection solutions and antibiotics, culturing and packaging. It takes approximately eight hours to process one donor, and only one donor may be processed at a time in each room. As many as one hundred individual tissues may be processed from one donor.
Tissues are cultured again following processing and packed into sterile storage containers and stored for distribution. Tissues recovered are processed and prioritized for the local area hospitals, including Hartford Hospital.
Manufacturers specialize in the processing of specific tissues. The major processors of tissue purchased and distributed by Hartford Hospital are Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation for bone and soft tissue grafts, and Cryolife, Inc. for cardiovascular grafts. These are two of the best and largest processors in the United States. On occasion, either based on match or design, another tissue processor may be used.
Be assured that these tissue banks meet or exceed American Association of Tissue Banks standards. Either the Connecticut Eye Bank or Tissue Banks International normally supplies corneal tissue. These tissues meet the criteria of the Eye Bank Association of America.