IRL director presents at SCABB

June 2, 2017

Lorena Aranda, director of the QualTex Immunohematology Reference Laboratory (IRL), presented on HLA antibody screening at the South Central Association of Blood Banks (SCABB) in Orlando, Florida.

Her on Friday, May 26, titled “HLA Antibody Screen- Retrospective Review,” it includes what we know about TRALI, and how requirements from AABB committee members can help those patients receiving transfusion in the future to be safe.

“We are trying to decrease patients from possible transfusion reactions,” Aranda says. “When a patient needs blood, we are providing them blood products and some in rare instances are having transfusion reactions – versus no reactions and improving their health”

Human leukocyte antigens (HLA) are found on platelets, white blood cells, immature red blood cells and nucleated cells. Before a patient gets a transfusion, testing must be performed to determine if the donor blood is compatible with the patient.

Her presentation focused on the idea that HLA antibodies from the donor could be the reason for transfusion related acute lung injuries (TRALI) in patients. TRALI attacks the lungs and can occur after a patient receives a transfusion, and becoming more evident within 1 to 2 hours of end of transfusion.

She said researchers have seen a slight downward trend in the number of deaths from TRALI because of precautions and testing that has taken place in recent years.

“We are doing testing in the laboratory for HLA antibodies.  We take a sample of the donor blood to test and if a donor has antibodies to HLA antigens, the instrument (Luminex) will detect them and results will tell us if donor is positive or negative, those that are positive will be removed from donating,” Aranda says. 

While the number of fatalities is less than 20 a year, it is still important to try to figure out the exact cause of these deaths, she says. This is why testing of HLA antibodies at this time in laboratories is so important, until the actual cause(s) of TRALI is determined.

“It is very important that we continue TRALI mitigation, as fatalities continue to be reported to the FDA.  We ultimately want our blood safe for transfusion for all.” Aranda says.

To view the presentation, click here.