Transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI)—an important, severe transfusion-related complication

Marco Bueter, Andreas Thalheimer, Frank Schuster, Markus Böck, Christina von Erffa, Detlef Meyer, Martin Fein
Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery 2006, 391 (5): 489-94

BACKGROUND: Transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI) is an immune-mediated transfusion reaction that can cause severe complications or even death. It is now the leading cause of transfusion-related death in the United States.

METHODS: The TRALI syndrome is presented in two cases in a surgical intensive care unit and discussed against the background of the present literature. In both cases, concomitant diseases led to an extremely difficult course of TRALI.

CONCLUSIONS: Knowledge of the TRALI syndrome is necessary to enable early diagnosis and treatment. It should be taken into consideration at any time when cardiopulmonary instability occurs after transfusion of blood products, which is a frequent event on surgical Intensive Care Units. TRALI remains a clinical diagnosis supported by serologic studies if these are available. Against the background of this potentially life-threatening complication, every single indication to transfuse blood products needs to be scrutinized carefully.

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