In 2012, NCHB was accredited as a Tissue Bank in accordance with the Standards of the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB). The achievement in this accreditation was a result of intensive and vigorous inspections and quality improvements. This is to ensure that the cryopreserved cardiovascular homografts are of the highest quality and that tissue banking activities are performed professionally, consistently and exceeding international standards.
The future of the NCHB, apart from continuing to ensure the highest quality of cryopreserved homografts, is to explore the possibility of decellularised homografts.
Studies have shown that decellularised homografts may decrease immunological responses, increase the durability of the homograft implants, and decrease the number of repeated surgeries.
Heart valve disease can be congenital or acquired during one’s lifetime. Currently, valvular stenosis, regurgitation and infective endocarditis are the most common heart valve diseases in Singapore. A defective or infected heart valve may be replaced with a donated heart valve (human cardiovascular allograft, or homograft) or an artificial heart valve.
The advantages of a cardiovascular homograft transplant include:
A new tissue can make a big difference in the quality of life for heart valve patients, and relieve them of symptoms such as breathlessness, tiredness and dizzy spells. It may even save them from death.
Anyone can donate. Many people assume that they are not healthy enough or are too old to donate, but their heart valves may be working perfectly even if they have conditions such as high blood pressure or heart disease.
The NCHB has an average of 10 consented donors a year since 2008. Although human heart valves are the replacement of choice for many valvular conditions, its usage has been largely limited by availability and timeliness. Without a suitable human heart valve, patients may ultimately have to undergo a less ideal operation or at times, postponement in surgery.
Anyone above the age of 18 years can make this life-saving decision by completing an Organ Donation Pledge Form and submitting it to the National Organ Transplant Unit (NOTU). This form can be obtained from the NOTU office or downloaded from the Live On website at www.liveon.sg
It is important for potential donors to share their wishes with their family, so that at the time of donation, their family will know that they are acting according to their loved ones’ wishes.
For more information, contact:
National Cardiovascular Homograft Bank
c/o National Heart Centre Singapore
Tel: 6704 8150
Fax: 6844 9035
National Organ Transplant Unit
c/o Singapore General Hospital
Tel: 6321 4390
From the recovery to the release of homograft, the safety and standards of the homograft depend on various
healthcare professionals such as the Transplant Coordinators, Medical Laboratory Technologists, Nurses,
Medical Directors and Cardiothoracic Surgeons.
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