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Immunohematology. 2004;20(4):226-33.

Review: IgA anaphylactic transfusion reactions. Part I. Laboratory diagnosis, incidence, and supply of IgA-deficient products.

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  • 1American Red Cross Blood Services-Penn-Jersey Region, 700 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123, USA.


Despite yielding a definitive diagnosis in fewer than 20 percent of anaphylactic transfusion reactions, investigation for IgA deficiency and the presence of presumably pathogenic IgG anti-IgA is useful in patient management. Individuals with demonstrated anti-IgA are thereafter committed to receiving IgA-depleted cellular products or IgA-deficient plasma and derivatives to prevent recurrent severe reactions. Unfortunately, in populations of IgA-deficient individuals screened for anti-IgA, the predictive value of the test in the absence of a prior reaction is quite low. Anti-IgA testing is complex and limited to a few reference laboratories, many of which still employ a labor-intensive hemagglutination assay developed in the late 1960s. Timely decisions regarding further transfusion management of patients experiencing anaphylaxis often rely upon more rapidly obtained assays of the IgA concentration as an indicator of the likelihood of subsequent demonstration of anti-IgA. The scarcity of IgA-deficient banked plasma products and dedicated plateletpheresis donors has led to the development of American Rare Donor Program policies designed to appropriately allocate these precious resources. The test methods used to establish the diagnosis of IgA deficiency and identify the approximately one third of these individuals with anti-IgA are discussed, along with the incidence of abnormal tests in various populations. Also presented are testing recommendations for the identification of an IgA-mediated mechanism for transfusion-associated anaphylaxis and qualification of patients to receive rare IgA-deficient plasma-containing products.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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