The case of a young man who had previously received pituitary derived growth hormone for treatment of radiation induced growth hormone deficiency is reported. He underwent neurosurgery for presumed recurrence of a posterior fossa tumour but was subsequently shown to have Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, confirmed on necropsy. The risk of transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease by neurosurgical instruments is discussed. Since the occurrence of this case the Department of Health have issued guidelines concerning neurosurgery and ophthalmic surgery in patients who have previously received treatment with pituitary derived growth hormone and may therefore be at risk of developing Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Surgical instruments used on such patients should under no circumstances be reused, and should be destroyed after use.
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