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NHSBT Tissue and Eye Services: nursing roles and responsibilities

26 March 2020
Volume 29 · Issue 6

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) Tissue and Eye Services (TES) save and improve the lives of thousands of patients every year. Tissue such as corneas, skin, bone, heart valves and tendons can be donated after death. Corneas enable the gift of sight, skin is donated for life-saving treatment for victims of severe burns, bone is used in a variety of orthopaedic surgeries, tendons for sports injuries and heart valves for life-saving cardiac procedures.

Unlike solid organ donation, the supply of tissue for donation is directly linked to recipient demand. TES monitors and predicts the requirements for transplantation and retrieves tissue in order to meet recipient need. For example, in order to meet known tissue requirements, TES may be required to gain consent, retrieve and process tissue from 10 deceased donors every day.

There are specific clinical selection criteria associated with tissue donation and very different clinical risk assessments are made in terms of suitability compared with our organ donation colleagues. Organ donation is lifesaving, while tissue donation can both save and improve lives and so the concept of organ and tissue donation after death are both similar yet different.

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