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Tissue team tops nation in femoral vein recovery

South Texas Blood & Tissue Center’s tissue recovery team has been named the nation’s top program for recovering cardio vascular tissue for CryoLife, an organization that provides tissue for cardiac and vascular surgeries.

Cryolife is recognizing our surgical team with a trophy in celebration of a 5.6% femoral vascular tissue error rate in 2020.

This is a big jump from 2019, when South Texas Blood & Tissue Center was ranked 32 out of 41 programs recovering femoral veins.

What changed?

Guillermo Robles, Tissue Recovery Manager, says having a dedicated suite at the Center For Life at University Hospital made a huge impact. 

“Recovering vascular tissue is a delicate process,” he said. “Having a state-of-the-art tissue recovery facility it provides our technicians the best environment for human tissue recovery.”

Along with giving the team appropriate lighting and space to work, there also are fewer distractions from nurses or hospital staff, who check in to see when the operating room will be available for the next surgical case.

Another benefit of the Center For Life recovery suite, which opened in February 2020, is that it reduces the need to travel.

“Previously, if we needed to go to Corpus Christi or Laredo for a recovery, it would be five hours of travel alone,” Robles said. “Tissue recovery often takes three to six hours. That’s a 12- to 16-hour shift for our technicians.”

The team took other steps to improve its recovery error rate. Heart, femoral veins and saphenous veins are delicate tissues that require precise recovery process. The team has dedicated many hours on training and improving their surgical techniques.

The Tissue Recovery Team’s work isn’t just life-enhancing, it’s lifesaving. Femoral veins are often used in heart surgeries for both adults and children.

“Those patients need these tissue grafts to live,” Robles said.

Ultimately, he said, it was the team’s dedication to the BioBridge Global mission of saving and enhancing lives that helped lead to their success.

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