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Restrictions on female plasma may not be warranted
Date:2/11/2010

DURHAM, N.C. Three years after the U.S. blood banking industry issued recommendations that discourage transfusing plasma from female donors because of a potential antibody reaction, Duke University Medical Center researchers discovered that female plasma actually may have advantages.

The Duke team conducted a retrospective study of Red Cross donor and hospital data from a period when female plasma wasn't restricted. They examined heart surgery outcomes for lung problems, and prolonged length of hospital stay or death. Cardiac surgery patients use about one-fifth of all transfused blood products.

They found that patients receiving female-donor plasma did significantly better than similar patients receiving male-donor plasma.

"Our findings raise the possibility of unanticipated effects of restricting female donor plasma use," said Mark Stafford-Smith, M.D., a Duke professor of anesthesiology and senior author of a study appearing in the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery on Feb. 11.

Blood products, such as red cells and plasma, are manufactured from blood collected from volunteer donors, and both male and female donors are still encouraged to donate whole blood, which is then separated into different components.

The recommendations to restrict plasma transfusions were based on evidence tying female-donor plasma to a serious lung injury called transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI). Antibodies that may cause TRALI are more common in women who have been pregnant, and the antibodies may form as a reaction to their fetus. The more pregnancies a woman has had, the greater the chance that she has these antibodies.

The AABB (formerly the American Association of Blood Banks) recommended in late 2006 that blood banks adopt measures to reduce the risk of TRALI, such as avoiding use of female donor plasma for transfusion due to the higher risk antibodies associated with TRALI.

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Contact: Mary Jane Gore
mary.gore@duke.edu
919-660-1309
Duke University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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