There are three well-accepted reasons to leukocyte-reduce blood products:
- Prevention of alloimmunization to foreign HLA antigens
- Prevention of febrile nonhemolytic transfusion reactions
- Prevention of CMV transmission (though this one is admittedly still debated)
Many also believe that leukoreduction helps prevent the immunosuppression that occurs after transfusion (so-called “transfusion-related immunomodulation, or “TRIM”). Leukocyte reduction may also play a role in decreasing bacterial contamination of blood products, and prevention of transmission of prions (such as the vector of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease), though these are less accepted indications.
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