Leukocyte-depletion of blood components does not significantly reduce the risk of infectious complications
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Allogeneic blood transfusions are claimed to be an independent risk factor for postoperative infections in open colorectal surgery due to immunomodulation. Leukocyte-depletion of erythrocyte suspensions has been shown in some open randomized studies to reduce the rate of postoperative infection to levels observed in nontransfused patients. Using a double-blinded, randomized design, we studied the postoperative infection rate in patients undergoing open colorectal surgery transfused with either leukocyte-depleted erythrocyte suspensions (LD-SAGM) or non-leukocyte-depleted erythrocyte suspensions (SAGM). Unselected patients (n 279) were allocated to receive LD-SAGM (n 139) or SAGM (n 140) if transfusion was indicated. Forty-five percent were transfused, yielding 48 patients in the LD-SAGM group and 64 in the SAGM group. Thirteen patients were excluded because they received one type of transfusion in spite of randomization to the other type. No significant differences in the rates of postoperative infections (P=0.5250) or postoperative complications (P=0.1779) were seen between the two transfused groups. Infection rates were 45% and 38% in the transfused groups and 21% and 23% in the nontransfused groups. No significant difference between the transfused groups was seen on any single infectious event, mortality rate, or duration of hospitalization. Leukocyte-depletion of erythrocyte suspensions transfused to patients undergoing open colorectal surgery does not reduce postoperative infection rates.
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