Number of RBC units and rate of transfusionto anemic HIV-positive patients assigned to receive WBC-reduced or non-WBC-reduced RBCs: the Viral Activation Transfusion Study experience

Transfusion Medicine Service, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514, USA.

Transfusion. 2001;41((6):):794-8.
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BACKGROUND It is known that the use of filtration to reduce WBCs in RBC units is associated with a 6- to 15-percent loss of RBCs. It is not known if the use of such WBC-reduced RBCs results in an increased need for RBC units or in the transfusion of more units per year to patients with anemia. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS In the multicenter Viral Activation Transfusion Study (VATS), anemic HIV-positive patients were randomly assigned to receive either WBC-reduced or non-WBC-reduced RBCs. The number of RBC units transfused per patient and the rate of RBC use were studied. All RBC units given after the enrollment transfusion were counted, until the end of follow-up or the occurrence of bleeding (receiving >5 RBCs within 2 consecutive days). RESULTS As expected, the WBC-reduced RBC units in VATS were lighter in weight than the non-WBC-reduced units (median weight: WBC-reduced, 300 g; non-WBC-reduced, 330 g; p<0.0001). After the enrollment transfusion, 258 WBC-reduced arm patients received 1279 units of RBCs (average, 5.0 units/patient, median, 2 units) while 262 patients in the non-WBC-reduced arm received 1111 RBCs (4.2 units/patient; median, 2 units). The number of units transfused for anemia was slightly greater in the WBC-reduced arm, but the difference was not significant (p = 0.41). Similarly, the rate of RBC use was somewhat higher in the WBC-reduced arm, but the difference was not significant (p = 0.14). The median was 2.3 units per patient per year of follow-up in the WBC-reduced arm; the median in the non-WBC-reduced arm was 1.2 units. CONCLUSION This study confirms that WBC-reduced RBC units are significantly lighter in weight than non-WBC-reduced RBCs. However, in the setting of a large, randomized, blinded study of transfusion for anemia, the smaller size of the WBC-reduced RBC units had no significant effect on the number of RBC units transfused or on the rate at which RBC units were used. In this study, the frequency of blood transfusion may have had a greater relationship to the frequency of routine, scheduled appointments or transfusion orders for a specified Hb trigger than to the actual Hb content of the unit.
Study details
Language : English
Credits : Bibliographic data from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine