Incidence of clostridial contamination in donors' musculoskeletal tissue

T. I. Malinin, B. E. Buck, H. T. Temple, O. V. Martinez, W. P. Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Reports of infection by Clostridium sordellii associated with allograft transplantation have generated considerable interest. We report our experience in recognising clostridial contamination in cadaver donors of musculoskeletal tissue. Tissues obtained from 795 consecutive donors were excised using standard surgical techniques. Samples of blood and bone marrow were also obtained. Donors with clostridia recovered from any site were matched with the preceding donor without clostridia as a procedural and environmental control. The histories of the donors were analysed to determine which variables had a relationship to contamination by running a contingency table and chi-squared test on the variables against the event of a donor being contaminated. Sixty-four donors (8.1%) had clostridia, most commonly C. sordellii. Clostridia were grown from the blood, marrow and tissue samples of 52, 37 and 30 donors, respectively. In eight cases, they were cultured from the tissue samples alone. There was no significant difference in age or gender between the contaminated donors and the control group. Open wounds were more common in control than in contaminated subjects, but only death by drowning in the contaminated group was statistically significant (p = 0.02). The time between death and the excision of tissue which was contaminated (16 hrs 10 mins) compared with control (11 hrs 10 mins) donors was also significant (p < 10-6).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1051-1054
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery - Series B
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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