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A comparison of complication rates based on published haemovigilance data

O. Flesland

Volume 33, Issue 1 / June , 2007

Pages S17 - S21


Haemovigilance is defined as the collection of information on complications of transfusion, the analysis of the data, and suggestions for improvement in the transfusion service. A national haemovigilance system is of value in identifying possible areas in need of improvement in the national transfusion system. Haemovigilance becomes even more important if the system is used to compare the situation in one country with the situation in other countries, e.g. if the countries differ significantly in products used. The current study focuses on immunological transfusion complications, especially TRALI, as published in haemovigilance reports from Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the UK.


In Norway immunological transfusion reactions occurred 96.7 times per 100 000 red cell (RBC) transfusion, 231.1 times per 100 000 thrombocyte (Trc) concentrate transfusion and five times per 100.000 transfusions of solvent detergent treated plasma (SD plasma). Denmark and the UK have similar rates of transfusion reactions to RBC and fresh frozen plasma (FFP), but quite different for Trc (0.5 vs. 4.9 per 100 000). In 49% of reported TRALI the causative product is FFP, but no case of TRALI after SD plasma transfusion has been reported.


When considering all reports for immunological complications in Norway, the most striking is the very small number of reports related to SD plasma. Comparing data from Denmark and the UK shows a big difference in reactions caused by thrombocyte concentrates that may reflect different production methods in the two countries. TRALI is most often caused by FFP, but has never been reported after SD plasma transfusion. Heamovigilance data can be valuable in choosing the safest products available.


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