What are the physical findings suggestive of a bacterial contamination transfusion reaction?

Updated: Jan 12, 2021
  • Author: S Gerald Sandler, MD, FCAP, FACP; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Bacterial contamination manifests as high fever, shock, tachycardia, and weak pulse, without a clear focus of infection. Examination of the contents of the container of blood being transfused may reveal clots, discoloration, or a difference in color between the contents of the bag (hemolyzed by contaminating bacteria) and the contents of the segmented tubing attached to the bag (not hemolyzed, no bacteria). In a review of septic transfusion reactions resulting from bacterially contaminated platelets, Hong et al reported that the reactions developed 9 to 24 hours posttransfusion, and occurred only in neutropenic patients. [54]

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