Background: Febrile nonhemolytic transfusion reactions (FNHTRs) are relatively common complications associated with allogenic transfusion. White blood cells (WBCs or leukocytes) are considered to be an important cause of FNHTRs; the rate of WBC derived proâinflammatory cytokines increase with storage due to active synthesis of cytokines by these cells. The removal of the WBCs before storage will prevent the accumulation of cytokines during storage that leads to a reduction in the number of FNHTRs. Aim: We have conducted a retrospective analysis comparing the rate of FNHTRs in prestorage leukoreduced (PrSLR) and non leukoreduced RBCs transfusion. Subjects and Methods: A retrospective review of all the transfusion reactions (TRs) reported to the department over a period of 2 years from July 2012 to June 2014 was done. Patients were stratified by the date of reaction and by component received and then divided into two groups: (1) Patients who received allogeneic PrSLR RBCs and (2) nonleukoreduced RBCs. For the PrSLR RBC units, leukoreduction was performed by using buffy coat method of component preparation by quadruple bags and integral bags containing Sepacell® Pure RC filters (Fenwal™ France). Results: 37,232 RBCs units were transfused and out of which 14149 (38% i.e. is 14149/37232) were prestorage leukoreduced (PrSLR) and 23083 (62%) were non leukoreduced. A total of 142 (0.38%) TRs were reported during that time period, of which 62 (0.17%) were classified as FNHTRs. In the nonleukoreduced group 124 TRs were reported, of which 55 were classified as FNHTRs to RBCs and the overall rate of FNHTR to RBCs was 0.24%. In pre storage leukoreduced group, 18 TRs were reported, of which 7 were classified as FNHTRs to RBCs and the overall rate of FNHTR to RBCs was 0.05% (P ≤ 0.001). This represents a significant reduction in the rate of FNHTR after institution of prestorage leukoreduction. Conclusion: The rate of FNHTRs to allogenic RBC units after the implementation of prestorage leukoreduction has decreased significantly. Cytokines and chemokines accumulating during storage of cellular blood products are responsible for residual FNHTRs.
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