Whole blood: longer holding times before leukoreduction may be a safe to explore option

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Whole blood transfusion is receiving renewed interest as a lifesaving alternative to component therapy for actively bleeding patients. In Canada, all blood products for transfusion must be leukoreduced. Leukoreduction removes white blood cells that could potentially cause infectious disease transmission or unwanted immune responses. Canadian Blood Services is evaluating a platelet-sparing filter to prepare leukoreduced whole blood for transfusion. The manufacturers of the platelet-sparing filter licensed for use in Canada recommend that whole blood be filtered within eight hours of collection. This is not always operationally feasible, especially in Canada where distances between collection and processing sites can be large. This research examined whether the whole blood collection bag, leukoreduction filtration, and the timing of filtration significantly affects whole blood quality during 21 days of cold storage. Exploring and validating alternative processing parameters, such as longer hold times before leukoreduction, could offer greater operational flexibility for blood operators.

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