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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Transfusion Reactions. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Presentation and Prevalence of Bacterial Contamination

Platelets are the most implicated product in bacterial contamination reports because they are stored at room temperature (20-24°C) and provide a favorable environment for bacterial growth. Contamination in red cell components is rare due to the refrigerated storage requirements for Red Cells at 1-6°C. Because FFP and CRYO are stored frozen, they are least likely to contain bacteria. Contamination usually occurs when these products are thawed in a water bath that contains bacteria.
Reactions range from minimal or no symptoms to fatal septic shock and death. Symptoms of sepsis can present during or shortly after transfusion and include rigors, high fever, dyspnea, hypotension, vomiting, and shock.