What are the possible infection-related complications of transfusion in liver transplantation?

Updated: Apr 19, 2019
  • Author: Vanessa A Olcese, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Ron Shapiro, MD  more...
  • Print


Many infectious complications arise from the transfusion of blood; these complications make matters worse for the critical condition of liver transplantation patients. Well-described infectious complications include hepatitis, HIV infection, and cytomegalovirus infection. More rare transmissions, which are described herein, include endotoxin effects and malaria transmission.

In a clinical trial of orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) patients, intraoperative endotoxemia levels correlated with the need for perioperative platelet transfusions, postoperative ventilator dependency, and 1-month case-fatality. [37, 38] Patients undergoing OLT were evaluated before, during, and after transplantation for platelet count and endotoxemia level. Endotoxemia was more severe in patients who needed ventilatory support for more than 5 days or who died within 5 days.

One case report detailed the transmission of Plasmodium ovale in a platelet transfusion during OLT. [39] The patient was diagnosed with malaria after OLT, and the infection was traced to the transfusion. Another possible route of malaria transmission is the graft itself. In addition, latently infected patients may experience a resurgence of infection because of immunosuppression.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!