Effects of blood products on nosocomial infections in liver transplant recipients

Exp Clin Transplant. 2013 Dec;11(6):530-6. doi: 10.6002/ect.2012.0286. Epub 2013 Jul 31.


Objectives: Infection is the most severe complication after an organ transplant. Blood cell transfusion is an independent risk factor for adverse events, including infection in the recipient. This study sought to evaluate the effect of blood product transfusions on nosocomial infections in liver transplant patients.

Materials and methods: Patients who underwent a liver transplant at our hospital between 2003 and 2010 were recruited for this study. Exclusion criteria were incomplete records, patients who were hospitalized for more than 48 hours during the 4 weeks before transplant, and pediatric transplants. Incidence of nosocomial infections, which were defined as infections occurring within 30 days after transplant was the primary endpoint.

Results: The incidence of nosocomial infections was 28.7%. The number of transfusions of packed red blood cells and fresh frozen plasma was significantly higher in patients with nosocomial infection compared with patients without nosocomial infection (P = .018 and P = .039). Blood products dose-dependently contributed to nosocomial infections. Transfusions of ≥ 7.5 units of red blood cells (odds ratio: 2.8) or ≥ 12.5 units of fresh frozen plasma (odds ratio: 3.27) were associated with nosocomial infections (P = .042 and P = .015). The infection-related mortality rate was 10.3%.

Conclusions: Blood product transfusions are associated with an increased rate of nosocomial infections, which contributes to higher morbidity and mortality.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology*
  • Erythrocyte Transfusion / adverse effects*
  • Erythrocyte Transfusion / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Liver Cirrhosis / surgery
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plasma*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Transplantation*
  • Urinary Tract Infections / epidemiology
  • Young Adult