Platelet concentrates: reducing the risk of transfusion-transmitted bacterial infections
Dirk de Korte,1 Jan H Marcelis2
1Department of Product and Process Development, Sanquin Blood Bank, Amsterdam, 2Department of Microbiology, St Elisabeth Hospital, Tilburg, the Netherlands
Abstract: The introduction of a combination of interventions during collection of whole-blood or platelet concentrates has been successful in lowering the degree of bacterial contamination in the final product, the platelet concentrate, by 50%–75%. These interventions were improved donor questionnaires, best-practice skin disinfection, and diversion of first blood volume. These interventions have reduced the number of bacteria present in the platelet concentrates. In combination with screening for bacterial contamination of platelet concentrates with a culture method, the degree of transfusion-transmitted bacterial infection has been reduced significantly. Due to the very low initial bacteria counts upon collection of the products, the need for improved sensitivity of early screenings tests or highly selective point-of-issue tests remains. The latter should be rapid and easy to perform. An alternative approach might be the implementation of pathogen-inactivation methods for cellular blood products to reduce the amount of pathogens. However, these methods are costly, and so far not proved to be cost-effective, especially in countries with an already-low incidence of transfusion-transmitted infections by viruses, parasites, or bacteria.
Keywords: blood products, bacterial contamination, screening, point of issue, pathogen inactivation
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