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Immunologic transfusion reactions

Arthur J Silvergleid, MD
Section Editor
Steven Kleinman, MD
Deputy Editor
Jennifer S Tirnauer, MD


Transfusions can be lifesaving for patients with severe anemia, thrombocytopenia, or deficiency of plasma components. However, allogenic blood cells and plasma proteins are foreign substances that can elicit an immune response in transfusion recipients, and plasma contains antibodies and other immune mediators that can react with recipient cells. As a result, transfusion carries risks of immunologic reactions.

This topic review discusses common immunologic transfusion reactions. Other types of transfusion reactions, and the approach to the patient with a suspected transfusion reaction for which the cause is unknown, are discussed in separate topic reviews.

Transfusion reaction of unknown cause – (See "Approach to the patient with a suspected acute transfusion reaction".)

Hemolytic transfusion reactions (HTR) – (See "Hemolytic transfusion reactions".)

Transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI) – (See "Transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI)".)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: May 10, 2017.
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