Reducing the Risk for Transfusion-transmitted Cytomegalovirus Infection

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▪ Objective:

To define the groups of patients at risk for transfusion-transmitted cytomegalovirus infection and to define the methods to reduce this risk.

▪ Data Sources:

English-language publications on transfusion medicine.

▪ Study Selection and Data Extraction:

Studies were selected that described cytomegalovirus infection in transfusion-dependent patients. Special attention was paid to reports that included observations about the prevalence and clinical manifestations of cytomegalovirus infection and recommendations for the prevention of infection.

▪ Data Synthesis:

Some patients with impaired immune responses who have never been exposed to cytomegalovirus are at risk for transfusion-transmitted cytomegalovirus infection. This infection, which is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality, can be avoided by additional screening of blood donors or by special processing of components for transfusion.

▪ Conclusions:

Transfusion products that are unlikely to transmit cytomegalovirus infection can be prepared by filtration to remove leukocytes or can be obtained by selecting donors who are seronegative for antibodies to cytomegalovirus. These products are indicated for certain groups of immunosuppressed patients, including pregnant women who are cytomegalovirus seronegative, premature infants of low birth weight who are born to cytomegalovirus-seronegative mothers, cytomegalovirus-seronegative recipients of allogeneic bone marrow transplants from cytomegalovirus-seronegative donors, and cytomegalovirus-seronegative patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

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