The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Adverse Effects of Fresh Frozen Plasma Transfusion: TRALI, TACO and Allergic Reactions. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Transfusion-Associated Circulatory Overload (TACO)

TACO is similar to TRALI since it is associated with transfusion and presents with similar symptoms: hypoxia and pulmonary edema. As with most cases of TRALI, TACO is temporary and symptoms generally subside within hours of transfusion. Unlike TRALI, the edema in TACO is caused by hydrostatic forces (hydrostatic edema) as opposed to changes in membrane permeability. Most patients with TACO respond well to diuresis but the mortality rate remains high (5-15%). Risk factors include age (older and younger at higher risk), kidney and cardiac dysfunction. Even though the mechanisms differ substantially, there are no direct tests that can differentiate TRALI from TACO. Some clinical features that differentiate TACO from TRALI are listed in the table on the following page.
TACO incidence varies from 1% to 8% of all transfusions depending upon the patient population and the type of reporting (passive reporting versus active reporting). The risk of TACO increases as the transfusion volume and rate of infusion increases. Because of the volume infused, FFP is associated with a high risk for TACO.
TACO risk can be reduced by careful attention to infusion volumes and rates in high risk groups such as the elderly, avoiding unnecessary transfusion, and the use of diuretics as indicated.