Cell and Tissue Banking

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 589–599 | Cite as

Banking of cryopreserved arterial allografts in Europe: 20 years of operation in the European Homograft Bank (EHB) in Brussels

  • R. Jashari
  • B. Van Hoeck
  • R. Ngakam
  • Y. Goffin
  • Y. Fan
Review Paper


Vascular allografts have been used for many years in patients with infection complications and when the patient lacks own autologous venous material. Cryopreservation has permitted the long term storage of these allografts, offering the optimal solution for particular clinical situations. For more than 20 years the European Homograft Bank has prepared, stored in the liquid nitrogen vapour below −130 °C and distributed various types of the quality controlled arterial allografts throughout the European centers and elsewhere. The tissues are prepared according to the existing European, Belgian, Swiss and other EU countries’ regulations and standards. This paper gives an overview of this activity since 1991. During this period 1,428 batches of arteries were received from recovery centres within European Union and Switzerland and 3,941 arterial segments were evaluated. 1,250 (32 %) were discarded for morphological findings (58 %), bacteriology (31 %) and other reasons, while 2,685 or 68 % (ascending and descending aorta, arch, aortic bifurcation, iliac and femoral arteries and the non-valved pulmonary bifurcations) were cryopreserved and stored. 2,506 arteries were implanted in 1,600 patients in vascular and cardiac centers in European Union and elsewhere. The most important indications were infections (65 %), critical limb ischemia (15 %) and congenital cardiac malformations (15 %). Some allografts were used for the repair of arterial injury (2 %) or prosthetic graft thrombosis (1.5 %). 10 aortic allografts (0.4 %) were used for tracheal replacement in case of cancer. In 52 cases EHB did not fulfill the surgeon’s requests due to shortage of arterial allografts. Collaboration with vascular surgeons in the tissue recovery might improve the number, diversity and quality of vascular allografts. A multicentric study is necessary to evaluate the long-term outcome of these allografts.


Allograft Arteries Banking Cryopreservation Homograft 



The authors thank Deirdre Fehily from the Italian National Transplant Centre for English language edit and Fatima Jtaoue and Shelbatra Jashari for technical support.

Conflict of interest

There is no conflict of interest.


  1. Billing JS, Sudarshan D, Schofield PM et al (2003) Aortic arch homograft as conduit for superior vena cava obstruction. Ann Thorac Surg 76:1296–1297PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Brockbank KG, Carpenter JF, Dawson PE (1992) Effects of storage temperature on viable bioprosthetic heart valves. Cryobiology 29(5):537–542PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Carrel A (1902) La technique opératoire des anastomoses vasculaires et la transplantation des viscères. Médecine de Lyon 98:859–864Google Scholar
  4. Carrel A (1908) Results of transplantation of blood vessels, organs and limbs. JAMA 51:1662CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Caspi J, Pettit T, Mulder T, Stopa A (2008) Development of the pulmonary arteries after the Norwood procedure: comparison between blalock-taussig shunt and right ventricular–pulmonary artery. Ann Thorac Surg 86:1299–1304PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Creech O, DeBakey ME, Cooley DA (1954) Preparation and use of freeze-dried arterial homografts. Ann Surg 140:35–43PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. DeBakey ME, Creech O, Cooley DA (1954) Occlusive disease of the aorta and its treatment by resection and homograft replacement. Ann Surg 140:290–307PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dodd PDF (2010) What tissue bankers should know about the use of allograft blood vessels? Cell Tissue Bank 11:3–11PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dubost C, Allary M, Oeconomos M (1952) Resection of an aneurysm of the abdominal aorta: reestablishment of continuity by a preserved human arterial graft, with result after 5 months. Arch Surg 64:405–408CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. (2011) (European good tissue practices project), EC, September 2011Google Scholar
  11. Foster JH, Lance EM, Scott HW Jr (1958) Experience with ethylene oxide treated freeze-dried arterial homografts in 110 consecutive patients. Ann Surg 148(2):230–238PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Goffin YA, Grandmougin D, Wozniak G et al (1998) Banking and distribution of large cryopreserved arterial homografts in brussels: assessment of 4 years of activity by the European Homograft Bank (EHB) with reference to implantation results in reconstruction of infected arterial prostheses and mycotic aneurysms. Vasc Surg 32:19–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Goffin YA, Van Hoeck B, Jashari R, Soots G, Kalmar P (2000) Banking of cryopreserved heart valves in Europe: assessment of a 10-year operation in the European Homograft Bank (EHB). J Heart Val Dis 9:207–214Google Scholar
  14. Gross RE (1951) Treatment of certain aortic coarctation by homologous grafts. Ann Surg 134:753–768PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Helpert B, De Backey ME, Jordan GL et al (1960) The fate of homografts and prostheses of the human aorta. Surg Gynecol Obstet 111:659–674Google Scholar
  16. Hufnagel CA, Rabil PJ, Reed L (1953) A method for the preservation of arterial homo- and heterografts. Surgical forum IV: 162, WB Sanders, Philadelphia, pp 162–168Google Scholar
  17. Jashari R, Van Hoeck B, Tabaku M, Vanderkelen A (2004) Banking of human heart valves and the arteries at the European Homograft Bank (EHB). Overview of a 14-year activity in this international association in Brussels. Cell Tissue Bank 5:239–251PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jashari R, Goffin Y, Van Hoeck B et al (2010) Belgian and European experience with the European Homograft Bank (EHB) cryopreserved allograft valves.-Assessment of a 20 year activity. Acta Chir Belg 110:280–290PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Kiefer E, Gomes D, Chiche L, Fléron MH, Koskas F, Bahnini A (2004) Allograft replacement for infrarenal aortic graft infection: early and late results in 179 patients. J Vasc Surg 39:1009–1017CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kieffer E, Sabatier J, Plissonnier D, Knosalla C (2001) Prosthetic graft infection after descending thoracic/thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysmectomy: management with in situ arterial allografts. J Vasc Surg 33:671–678PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Knossalla C, Goëau-Brissonière O, Leflon V et al (1998) Treatment of vascular graft infection by in situ replacement with cryopreserved aortic allografts: an experimental study. J Vasc Surg 27:689–698CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mestres C-A, Mulet J, Pomar J-L (1995) Large-caliber cryopreserved arterial allografts in vascular reconstructive operations: early experience. Ann Thorac Surg 60:S105–S107PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Nevelsteen A, Feryn T, Lacroix H et al (1998) Experience with cryopreserved arterial allografts in the treatment of prosthetic graft infection. Cardiovasc Surg 6:378–382PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. O’Brien MF, Stafford EG, Gardner MA, Pohlner PG, McGiffin DC (1987) A comparison of aortic valve replacement with viable cryopreserved and fresh allograft valves, with a note on chromosomal studies. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 94:812–823PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Pareja E, Cortes M, Navarro R et al (2010) Vascular complications after orthotopic liver transplantation: hepatic artery thrombosis. Transpl Proc 42:2970–2972CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Szilagyi DE, Overhulse PR, Logrippo GA (1954) Use of chemically sterilized arterial homografts. Clin Res Proc 2:108–115Google Scholar
  27. Szilagyi DE, Rodriguez FJ, Smith RF et al (1970) Late fate of arterial allografts. Observations 6–15 years after implantation. Arch Surg 101:721–733PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Tabaku M, Jashari R, Carton HF et al (2004) Processing of cardiovascular allografts: effectiveness of European Homograft Bank (EHB) antimicrobial treatment (cool decontamination protocol with low concentration of antibiotics). Cell Tissue Bank 5:261–266PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Verhelst R, Lacroix V, Vraux H et al (2000) Use of cryopreserved arterial homografts for management of infected prosthetic grafts: a multicentric study. Ann Vas Surg 14:602–607CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Vogt P, Brunner-La Rocca HP, Carrel T et al (1998) Cryopreserved arterial allografts in the treatment of major vascular infection: a comparison with conventional surgical techniques. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 116:965–972PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Watts S (1907) The suture of blood vessels. Implantation and transplantation of vessels and organs. An historical and experimental study. Ann Surg 46:373–404PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Wurtz A, Porte H, Conti M et al (2010) Surgical technique and results of tracheal and carinal replacement with aortic allografts for salivary gland-type carcinoma. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 140:387–393PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Jashari
    • 1
  • B. Van Hoeck
    • 1
  • R. Ngakam
    • 1
  • Y. Goffin
    • 1
  • Y. Fan
    • 1
  1. 1.European Homograft Bank, International AssociationBrusselsBelgium

Personalised recommendations