Transfusions are regularly employed in the care of the critically ill. While the transmission of infectious agents and clerical errors have long been major concerns, a more common non-infectious complication of transfusion, namely acute lung injury/acute respiratory distress syndrome (ALI/ARDS), has been neglected. Indeed, during the past several years, post-transfusion ALI/ARDS (transfusion-related acute lung injury - TRALI) has become the leading cause of transfusion-related death in the United States . It likely occurs much more frequently than previously estimated. With skyrocketing health care costs and the continuous emphasis on improvement in patient care, it is of paramount importance to better define this transfusion-related phenomenon and to design effective strategies for its prevention. Several investigator groups have been on the leading edge in the quest to clearly elucidate this disease entity and define its prevalence.
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