The use of irradiated blood components is key to the prevention of transfusion-associated graft-versus-host disease (TA-GvHD).
TA-GvHD is caused by viable donor T-lymphocytes in transfused blood components engrafting, proliferating and leading to the destruction of tissues and organs, in particular the skin, gastrointestinal tract, liver and bone marrow.
Transfusion-associated graft-versus-host disease (TA-GvHD) is a rare (0.1 to 1% patients at risk),r but usually fatal complication of blood component transfusion.r
Signs and symptoms generally occur within 2 to 30 days of the transfusion, and may be confused for viral or drug reactions as they are non-specific. Treatment of TA-GvHD remains largely unsuccessful, with a mortality rate of above 90%.rr
The risk to the individual patient depends on:
- the number and viability of T-lymphocytes
- the susceptibility of the patient's immune system
- the degree of immunological difference between the blood donor and the patient.r