A Comparison of Transfusion-Related Adverse Reactions Among Apheresis Platelets, Whole Blood-Derived Platelets, and Platelets Subjected to Pathogen Reduction Technology as Reported to the National Healthcare Safety Network Hemovigilance Module

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Despite advances in transfusion safety, concerns with safety of platelet transfusions remain including platelet-related sepsis and higher reaction rates observed among patients receiving apheresis platelets (APLTs). National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) Hemovigilance Module (HM) data were analyzed to quantify the burden and severity of adverse reactions occurring from APLTs and whole blood-derived platelets (WBD-PLTs). Facilities participating in NHSN HM during 2010-2018 were included. Adverse reaction rates (number per 100,000 components transfused) were calculated for APLTs and WBD-PLTs stratified by severity, use of platelet additive solution (PAS), and pathogen reduction technology (PRT). Chi-square tests were used to compare rates. During the study interval, 2,000,589 platelets were transfused: 1,435,154 APLTs; 525,902 WBD-PLTs; and among APLTs, 39,533 PRT-APLTs. APLT adverse reaction rates were higher (478 vs 70/ 100,000, P< .01) and more often serious (34 vs 6/100,000; P< .01) compared with WBD-PLTs. Adverse reactions were higher among PRT-APLTs (572/100,000) and were less often serious (18/100,000) compared with non-PRT-APLTs (35/100,000) although this association was not statistically significant. Among components implicated in adverse reactions, 92% of APLTs were suspended in plasma. Compared with PRT-APLTs stored in PAS, rates were higher among units stored in plasma (760 vs 525/100,000). Most serious reactions (75%) were allergic. No transfusion-transmitted infections were reported among PRT-APLTs. APLTs were associated with a 6-fold and 2-fold higher serious adverse reaction risks compared with WBD-PLTs and PRT-APLTs, respectively. These findings demonstrate the importance of monitoring transfusion-related adverse reactions to track the safety of platelet transfusions and quantify the impact of mitigation strategies through national hemovigilance systems.

Keywords: Hemovigilance; Pathogen reduction technology; Platelet transfusions; Transfusion-related adverse reactions.