Transfusion-related acute lung injury: definition and review

Crit Care Med. 2005 Apr;33(4):721-6. doi: 10.1097/01.ccm.0000159849.94750.51.


Background: Transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI) is now the leading cause of transfusion-associated mortality, even though it is probably still underdiagnosed and underreported.

National heart, lung, and blood institute action: The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute convened a working group to identify areas of research needed in TRALI. The working group identified the immediate need for a common definition and thus developed the clinical definition in this report.

Major concepts in the definition: The major concept is that TRALI is defined as new acute lung injury occurring during or within 6 hrs after a transfusion, with a clear temporal relationship to the transfusion. Also, another important concept is that acute lung injury temporally associated with multiple transfusions can be TRALI, because each unit of blood or blood component can carry one or more of the possible causative agents: antileukocyte antibody, biologically active substances, and other yet unidentified agents.

Recommendation: Using the definition in this report, clinicians can diagnose and report TRALI cases to the blood bank; importantly, researchers can use this definition to determine incidence, pathophysiology, and strategies to prevent this leading cause of transfusion-associated mortality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Transfusion / statistics & numerical data*
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / etiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Syndrome
  • Transfusion Reaction*