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Transfusion medicine

Tranfusion-transmitted disease

Bacterial contamination of transfusions - general

Reviewer: Huy Phu Pham, M.D. (see Reviewers page)
Revised: 31 October 2011, last major update September 2011
Copyright: (c) 2007-2011, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.


● Greater risk than viral transmission in Western countries (Clin Microbiol Rev 2005;18:195)
● In 2009, transfusion related fatalities due to bacterial contamination were #4 cause of transfusion related mortalities (after TRALI, TACO, and non-ABO hemolytic transfusion reaction, Fatalities Reported to FDA Following Blood Collection and Transfusion: Annual Summary for Fiscal Year 2009)
● Transfusions may be a small risk factor for surgical site infection (Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 1999;20:250)
● Clinical presentation is usually dramatic with onset during or shortly after transfusion; fever, chills, hypotension, nausea, vomiting
● May lead to shock, renal failure, DIC, death
● Must usually treat with broad spectrum antibiotics before bacteria is identified
● 70% of cases of transfusion related sepsis are due to gram positive organisms associated with skin flora at phlebotomy site
● 80% of transfusion related deaths are due to gram negative organisms that circulate transiently in blood of healthy donors

End of Transfusion Medicine > Tranfusion-transmitted disease > Bacterial contamination of transfusions - general

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