Is group A thawed plasma suitable as the first option for emergency release transfusion? (CME)

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Group AB plasma, which lacks anti-A and anti-B isohemagglutinins, is issued for emergency transfusion when a patient's ABO group is unknown, but the relative scarcity of group AB blood donors limits its availability. We sought to establish a thawed plasma inventory to improve the rapid availability of plasma in the emergency release setting but were concerned about potential wastage of group AB plasma.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS:

Recognizing that plasma-incompatible apheresis platelets are routinely transfused and only rarely result in hemolytic reactions if the donor is blood group O, and considering that group A plasma would be compatible with approximately 85% of our patient population, we instituted an emergency release policy whereby thawed group A plasma is issued to all patients of unknown blood group or if compatible plasma is not available. ABO-compatible plasma is then issued, if needed, once the patient's blood group is determined. We prospectively assessed the outcomes of all patients who received incompatible plasma under our policy.

RESULTS:

During the first 5 years under this policy, 385 emergency release requests for plasma were received by our blood bank. Among them, 23 group B or AB patients met criteria for receiving a median of 2 units of incompatible group A plasma. No hemolytic transfusion reactions or other adverse events related to transfusion were seen in any of these 23 patients.

CONCLUSION:

We propose that group A plasma may be an acceptable alternative to AB plasma as the first option in the emergency release setting.

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