Background: Febrile nonhemolytic transfusion reaction (FNHTR) has been identified as a pivotal reason for prestorage universal WBC reduction. A regional blood center implemented universal prestorage WBC reduction for RBCs on January 1, 2000. Whether prestorage universal WBC reduction of RBC units will affect FNHTR is not known.
Study design and methods: All reports of RBC transfusion reactions at Barnes-Jewish Hospital submitted for evaluation to the blood bank, before and after the implementation of WBC reduction of RBCs, were retrospectively evaluated.
Results: For the 36,303 allogeneic RBC transfusions administered in 1999, 85 reactions (0.23%) were reported. These reactions were classified as FNHTR in 43 cases, allergic in 13, delayed hemolytic in 19, and miscellaneous in 10. For the 31,543 non-WBC-reduced RBC transfusions performed in 1999, 78 reactions (0.25%) were reported. These reactions were classified as FNHTR in 39 cases, allergic in 13, delayed hemolytic in 19, and miscellaneous in 7. In the first half of 2000, 32 reactions (0.20%) were reported for 16,093 prestorage WBC-reduced RBC transfusions (p = 0.41). There were 13 FNHTRs and 10 allergic, 7 delayed hemolytic, and 2 miscellaneous reactions. The use of prestorage WBC-reduced RBCs did not significantly affect the rate of reactions classified as allergic (0.04% in 1999; 0.06% in 2000; p = 0.43) or as FNHTR (0.12% in 1999; 0.08% in 2000; p = 0.33). For all patients, universal WBC reduction in 2000 did not reduce the rate of FNHTR from the rate seen with selective bedside WBC reduction, the practice used in 1999 (0.12% in 1999; 0.08% in 2000; p = 0.36).
Conclusion: No significant difference was found in the incidence of transfusion reactions in patients receiving prestorage WBC-reduced RBCs and non-WBC-reduced RBCs. In addition, no difference was found in transfusion reaction rates when periods of prestorage universal WBC reduction were compared to those of selective WBC reduction.