What is the role of leukodepletion in the prevention of transfusion-transmitted diseases?

Updated: Jan 15, 2017
  • Author: Mudassar Zia, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

Some infectious agents reside within leukocytes, and hence, their transmission can be interrupted if the blood product is depleted of these cells. CMV is the major pathogen that can be transmitted through leukocytes and cause significant mortality and morbidity in transplant recipients and immunocompromised cancer patients.

Even though filtration of the blood to remove leukocytes has been used extensively, filtered red blood cell units from CMV-positive donors are believed to be the primary predictor of transfusion-transmitted CMV in some studies. This has raised the issue of whether leukocyte-depleted blood products are as good as CMV-seronegative products. [92] A Canadian consensus panel on this issue stated that it could not definitely say whether either of these 2 methods is better than the other or even whether they are equivalent. [93] Additional data on this issue may clarify the answer in future. [93, 94]


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