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Characterization of reactions after exclusive transfusion of white cell-reduced cellular blood components.

Transfusion 1995 January
BACKGROUND: Potential adverse effects of white cells (WBCs) within transfused cellular blood components include febrile nonhemolytic transfusion reactions (FNHTRs), alloimmunization, transmission of infectious diseases, transfusion-related acute lung injury, and immunomodulation. Although exclusive use of WBC-reduced components to prevent alloimmunization and cytomegalovirus transmission has been studied, the use of these components to avert FNHTR has not been examined.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Transfusion reactions (FNHTRs, allergic reactions, and others) were characterized in recipients of 12,277 WBC-reduced single-donor apheresis platelets (SDAPs) and/or red cells (RBCs). Medical and laboratory evaluations for possible infectious and immunologic (alloimmunization) causes of each reaction were undertaken, and the benefit of further modification of components for the prevention of subsequent reactions was also evaluated.

RESULTS: Transfusion reactions occurred after 481 (3.92%) of 12,277 transfusions. Allergic reactions occurred more commonly after transfusion of SDAPs (3.69%) than of RBCs (0.51%). Conversely, FNHTRs occurred more commonly after transfusion of RBCs (2.15%) than of SDAPs (1.58%). HLA antibodies were present in a posttransfusion sample from 27 (10.6%) of 255 patients; bacterial contamination was a possible cause of only 2 (0.42%) of 481 reactions. In patients with recurrent FNHTRs, further WBC reduction in components did not wholly prevent further FNHTRs.

CONCLUSION: The incidence of FNHTRs and alloimmunization after exclusive transfusion of WBC-reduced RBCs and SDAPs was low. Further WBC reduction in components transfused to patients with a history of recurrent FNHTRs does not completely prevent subsequent reactions.

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