URMC blood bagBlood transfusions are commonly carried out when there is tremendous loss of blood during a surgery, a serious injury or when our body is not capable of forming blood due to a specific illness. Experts from the University of Rochester Medical Center have identified another approach to examine white cells from donor blood. Blood resulting from this approach may have lesser cardiopulmonary complications.

Lung injuries related to transfusions could occur when antibodies, other molecules or plasma from the donor’s white cells react in an unfavorable manner with the recipients white cells. Circulatory overload is considered to happen when the amount of blood passed during a transfusion is too much for the recipient’s cardiovascular system. Experts anticipate that leukoreduction may eradicate white cells that may help lower complications.

The study was conducted in the course of seven years before and after 2000. Experts introduced a process known as leukoreduction that filters the white cells from the blood to be used for transfusion. They examined many reports of transfusion reaction during the 14 year span. Transfusion related lung injury lowered by 83 percent and similarly transfusion related circulatory overload dropped by 49 percent. Both these conditions were low as compared to the rates before year 2000. These conditions are uncommon but may lead to an increased number of deaths post transfusion.

Neil Blumberg, M.D shares, “These data are very exciting because we described two unexpected and unexplained associations between adverse reactions and leukoreduction. However, our observations do not prove cause and effect, and therefore require further investigation before we can say with certainty that leukoreduction is responsible for so many fewer cardiopulmonary complications.”

New blood surveillance system presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may help to spot severe transfusion reactions. This will provide detailed information to continue or disapprove the URMC study. Previous analysis has shown that leukoreduction has lowered post-surgical infection and death immensely. Removal of white cells from donor’s blood reduces the chances of getting affected with an inflammatory response or infection.

The study was published online by the journal, Transfusion.