Risks of blood transfusion

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To review the current status of risks of blood transfusion.

Data Sources, Extractions, and Synthesis

English-speaking literature, literature search using key works, human data, and follow-up with key bibliographic citations.


Substantial advances have been achieved in blood safety during the last 20 yrs, particularly for transfusion-transmitted viral infections. Currently, the most serious known risks from blood transfusion are administrative error (leading to ABO-incompatible blood transfusion), transfusion-related acute lung injury, and bacterial contamination in platelet products. Emerging pathogens, such as West Nile virus infection emphasize the need for implementation of proactive strategies, such as pathogen inactivation technologies, as well as reactive strategies, such as nucleic acid testing, to ensure continued advances in blood safety.

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