Transfusion-Related Acute Lung Injury: Incidence, Pathogenesis and the Role of Multicomponent Apheresis in Its Prevention

Mark A Popovsky
Transfusion Medicine and Hemotherapy 2008, 35 (2): 76-79
SUMMARY: Although transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI) is now appreciated as the most common cause of death from transfusion, its incidence remains unknown. The most frequently cited figure is 1:5,000 plasma-containing components. Certain patient groups may be at significantly higher risk. TRALI is both underdiagnosed and un-derreported. It is misdiagnosed as transfusion-associated circulatory overload. Several mechanisms have been proposed for its pathogenesis-leukocyte antibodies and the 2-hit model. These may overlap, and both involve transfusion of leukocyte antibodies. Passive transfusion of leukocyte antibodies is strongly associated with TRALI; these are identified in 60-85% of cases. Multiparous blood donors are the most frequent source of these antibody-containing components. The antibodies are HLA class I and II and/or granulocyte-specific. In 50% of cases the antibody corresponds to an epitope in the patient. HLA class I antibodies have been shown to prime and activate neutrophils. Clinical reports and animal models link HNA-3a antibodies with severe lung injury. A number of TRALI prevention and risk mitigation strategies have been proposed. In the UK and the USA, these strategies have centered upon excluding 'high risk' (HLA/HNA antibody containing) plasma from fresh frozen plasma and platelet products. Multicomponent apheresis collection of platelets, plasma and red blood cells is a means of accomplishing this objective.

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