Transfusion-related acute lung injury prevention measures and their impact at Canadian Blood Services

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Blood operators have taken measures to reduce transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI). We classified suspected TRALI cases reported to Canadian Blood Services from 2001 to 2009 and assessed the impact of TRALI reduction measures.


Using Canadian Consensus Conference definitions, cases were reviewed by two experts or, from 2006 to 2009, a TRALI Medical Review Group (TMRG). Detection of HLA antibodies was performed using the Luminex system starting in 2008. Measures implemented from 2007 to 2009 included use of predominantly male plasma, suspension of buffy coat platelets in male plasma, and deferral of females with a pregnancy history from plateletpheresis. The buffy coat production method was implemented from 2005 to 2008.


Reporting of all suspected TRALI cases, as well as cases classified as definite or possible, increased from 2001 to 2004, was stable from 2004 to 2007, and declined in 2008 to 2009. The decline was most marked for plasma-associated cases, but occurred for all components. TMRG consensus on classification was achieved in 56% of cases. Cases identified as definitive or possible TRALI were significantly more likely to have donor antibody against a corresponding recipient antigen, compared to other cases.


Hemovigilance data demonstrated an initial increase in TRALI cases, likely due to increased adverse event reporting and awareness of TRALI, followed by a decrease in cases related to all components. TRALI prevention measures and possibly the switch to the buffy coat production method may have contributed to the decline. Classification of cases remains challenging.

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