Screening of multiparous women to avoid transfusion-related acute lung injury: a single centre experience

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The aim of this study was to investigate which approach for serological testing of multiparous donors might be feasible and effective to reduce the risk of transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI). TRALI is a serious adverse event of blood transfusion. Antibodies to granulocytes and human leucocyte antigens (HLAs) are frequently detected in sera of implicated donors. These donors are often multiparous women. A general deferral of female plasma or screening strategies for leucocyte antibodies has been proposed to increase blood safety. A prospective study was initiated in 2003. Until 2006, serum samples from all female donors reporting three or more pregnancies (n = 229) were screened for the presence of antibodies against granulocytes and HLAs by immunofluorescence and agglutination tests as well as by a commercial HLA enzyme immunoassay. In total, 40% of all multiparous women were reactive in one of the assays. Twenty-nine percent of the reactive sera contained antibodies to granulocytes but not to HLAs. During the observation period, three TRALI reactions occurred in our hospital, two of which would have been prevented if the screening program had been extended to all previously pregnant donors. We conclude from these data that, not unexpectedly, the number of previous pregnancies is not a reliable indicator for the likelihood of inducing TRALI. More importantly, screening strategies for antibodies that might induce TRALI should probably not be reduced to HLA antibody screening. This finding awaits further research.

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