Limited efficacy of universal leucodepletion in reducing the incidence of febrile nonhaemolytic reactions in red cell transfusions

J. Ibojie, M. A. Greiss, Stanislaw Urbaniak

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    This article demonstrates a 62% reduction in the number of febrile nonhaemolytic transfusion reactions (FNHTRs) and 50% reduction in febrile reaction rate associated with red cell transfusions following graded introduction of universal leucodepletion. Though this is a statistically significant reduction (P = 0.009), it shows limited efficacy in abrogating this complication. We also found a reduction in the proportion of cases of FNHTRs with lymphocytotoxic antibodies over the period studied from 54% in 1998, 28% in 1999 to 23% in 2000. This corresponds to a relative increase in the number of febrile reactions without human leucocyte antigen (HLA) antibodies following full implementation of universal leucodepletion, as the total number of reported reactions actually fell considerably during the period. The increase in the number of cases without HLA antibodies was directly proportional to the increase in the number of leucodepleted units used.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)181-185
    Number of pages4
    JournalTransfusion Medicine
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


    • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
    • febrile nonhaemolytic transfusion reactions
    • lymphocytotoxic antibodies
    • universal leucodepletion

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