Surgery, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Link

MADRID, July 14 (UPI) — An epidemiologist in Spain has raised the possibility that Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease may manifest itself in people years after they have had surgery.

Jesus de Pedro of the National Epidemiology Centre of the Carlos III Health Institute in Spain says computerized records of surgeries — in place since the early 1970s in hospitals in Sweden and Denmark — enabled operations on residents of those countries to be linked to cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a degenerative, incurable brain disorder.


DePedro is the main author of a study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, that suggests transmission of the sporadic form of the disease through general surgery.

“Suggesting that a disease could have been acquired during healthcare is a very delicate affirmation, as some relatives of patients with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease may be tempted to seek compensation from health authorities for the alleged intraoperational transmission years previously, which would be impossible to prove in individual cases,” de Pedro says in a statement.

However, he says the study presents a pattern — albeit one that is based on few cases and must be replicated in future studies — suggesting that the onset of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease may occur approximately 10 years after an operation on the retina with reused equipment.

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