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Survey of current practice for prevention of transfusion-transmitted cytomegalovirus in the United States: leucoreduction vs. cytomegalovirus-seronegative


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Alyssa Ziman, MD, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, 10833 Le Conte Ave, CHS A4-215A, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1732, USA E-mail:


Background and Objectives  Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a significant pathogen transmissible through blood transfusion that can have devastating effects on immunocompromised patients. Current transfusion practice provides two choices for transfusion of cellular blood components that reduce the risk of transfusion-transmitted CMV (TT-CMV): blood components collected from CMV seronegative donors and leucocyte-reduced (LR) blood components.

Materials and Methods  A web-based survey was designed and administered to AABB physician members in April 2007 to collect information regarding current blood banking and clinical practices for prevention of TT-CMV in the United States.

Results  Individuals representing 183 different institutions completed the entire survey (an institutional response rate of 32.5%). Sixty-five percent of respondents indicated that their institution considered that CMV-seronegative and LR products are equally effective in preventing TT-CMV. When analyzed by institutional type, academic institutions and community hospitals were more likely to subscribe to the premise that LR blood components are equally effective at preventing TT-CMV, than were community blood centres and government institutions. However, reported practices for specific patient populations did not match this view of equivalence between CMV-seronegative and LR products with many patient populations preferentially receiving CMV-seronegative components. Fetal and neonatal populations were more likely than other patient populations to receive CMV-seronegative products to reduce the risk of TT-CMV.

Conclusion  There is wide variability in transfusion practices to reduce the risk of TT-CMV. Lack of a consensus approach may reflect the conflicting data that exist in the literature as well as adherence to longstanding practice.