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Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2013 Dec;19(12):1719-24. doi: 10.1016/j.bbmt.2013.09.013. Epub 2013 Oct 5.

Is cytomegalovirus testing of blood products still needed for hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients in the era of universal leukoreduction?

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  • 1Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) recipients are a high-risk, immunocompromised group of patients who receive frequent transfusions after transplantation. Transfusion of cytomegalovirus (CMV)-negative blood products has long been the standard of care to prevent transfusion-transmitted CMV in this patient population. Leukoreduction of blood products before transfusion has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of transfusion-transmitted CMV. In the era of universal leukoreduction in Canada, the need for CMV testing of blood products remains unclear. We sought to identify whether there is a difference in transfusion-transmitted CMV viremia in patients receiving only leukoreduced versus CMV-negative and leukoreduced blood products in HSCT recipients. Patients who were CMV negative and received an allogeneic HSCT from a CMV-negative donor between October 1, 1999 and June 30, 2012 were included in the analysis. Transfusion data were collected from The Ottawa Hospital Blood Bank and Canadian Blood Services. CMV viremia was defined as PCR positivity. One hundred sixty-six patients were identified who met the inclusion criteria. Of these, 89 patients received an HSCT before January 2007, during the time when patients received leukoreduced and CMV-negative blood products. Seventy-seven patients received an HSCT after this time, receiving only leukoreduced blood products. The 2 groups did not differ in terms of age, gender, diagnosis, graft type, graft source, conditioning regimen, or ABO compatibility (P > .05). CMV viremia was detected in 3 patients who received CMV-negative leukoreduced blood products (3.37%) and in 1 patient who received only leukoreduced blood products (1.30%, P = .6244). Of the patients who developed CMV viremia, 2 developed suspected CMV disease. Both of these patients were transfused with CMV-negative blood products. Secondary outcomes, including total length of stay in hospital, admission to the intensive care unit, acute and chronic graft versus host disease, and 100-day nonrelapse mortality, did not differ between the groups. In the era of universal leukoreduction of blood products, this study demonstrates that testing for CMV-negative blood products is not needed for HSCT recipients.

Copyright © 2013 American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Cytomegalovirus; Hematopoietic stem cell transplant; Leukoreduction; Transfusion

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