Are we missing reverse TRALI? – A real world experience from a tertiary care oncology centre in India


      Transfusion related acute lung injury (TRALI) is a rare but potentially fatal pulmonary complication of transfusion that presents as acute hypoxemia and non-cardiogenic pulmonary oedema, developing during or within six hours of transfusion. Majority of the cases reported are due to transfusion of plasma rich blood components containing antibodies to human leukocyte antigen (anti-HLA) or human neutrophil antigen (anti-HNA). Rarely, anti-HLA or anti-HNA in recipients against transfused donor leukocyte antigens, cause TRALI by a reverse mechanism. Herein, we report three cases of suspected TRALI following transfusions of buffy coat derived granulocytes and peripheral blood stem cells. Three patients with hematological malignancies developed pulmonary symptoms after transfusions of leukocyte rich blood components. All cases showed findings of bilateral pulmonary infiltrates at chest radiography and patients were managed accordingly; however, all three expired within seven days of transfusion due to progressive respiratory deterioration. The patients were transfusion dependent for a long time and had received multiple non-leukoreduced blood components in the past. Clinical findings in all three cases indicate the possibility of reverse TRALI. Although, patients’ anti-HLA or anti-HNA antibodies concordance with donors’ cognate antigens (HLA and HNA) was not confirmed; yet these three cases suggest that reverse pathogenesis of TRALI is not as infrequent as reported in the literature. However, reverse TRALI has not been confirmed as the presence and nature of antibodies in the transfused recipient were not investigated due to the non availability of immunodiagnostic tests in India.


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