The heart valve bank procures human heart valves from suitable donors for use in valve replacement or valve reconstruction surgery.
The valves are donated from suitable donors only after obtaining consent. This can be from the donor directly in cases where the heart is taken at the time of a heart transplant from a living donor, or from relatives in the case of a deceased donor.
The department routinely dissects the aortic and pulmonary valves from the hearts and then disinfects them using antibiotics. Following microbiology testing, the valves are cryopreserved and stored at very low temperatures until required by the surgeon. They can remain frozen in the freezer for up to five years.
In addition to supplying valves for cases in this Trust, the department also supplies many of the other cardiac centres in the UK.
The heart valve bank is licensed by the Human Tissue Authority (HTA) to procure, process, test, store and distribute tissue under the Human Tissue Act 2004 and the Human Tissue (Quality & Safety for Human Application) Regulations 2007.
Information for doctors and nurses
If relatives wish to discuss the donation of heart valves or other tissues, at the time of death of a loved one then please contact the regional team of specialist nurses for organ donation (SN-ODs), for further information. 24/7 pager number: 07659 100103
If the cause of death is cardiac related, the heart valve bank can arrange for a histopathology examination to be performed on the heart following dissection and a report sent to the referring doctor and / or coroner
The dissected aortic valve will ideally include the ascending aorta up to the first branch. The pulmonary valve will include the bifurcation of the trunk into the left and right pulmonary arteries.
Contact the heart valve bank team
Royal Brompton Hospital, Level 1, Sydney Street, London, SW3 6NP
Telephone: 020 7351 8460
Heart valve bank manager telephone: 020 7351 8783
Quality lead telephone: 020 7352 8121 ext. 2673
Monday to Friday: 9.30am to 6pm
On-call service available at all other times via Royal Brompton switchboard.