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Minno, Giovanni di; Navarro, David; Perno, Carlo Federico; Canaro, Mariana; Gürtler, Lutz; Ironside, James W.; Eichler, Hermann and Tiede, Andreas (2017): Pathogen reduction/inactivation of products for the treatment of bleeding disorders: what are the processes and what should we say to patients? In: Annals of Hematology, Vol. 96, No. 8: pp. 1253-1270

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Patients with blood disorders (including leukaemia, platelet function disorders and coagulation factor deficiencies) or acute bleeding receive blood-derived products, such as red blood cells, platelet concentrates and plasma-derived products. Although the risk of pathogen contamination of blood products has fallen considerably over the past three decades, contamination is still a topic of concern. In order to counsel patients and obtain informed consent before transfusion, physicians are required to keep up to date with current knowledge on residual risk of pathogen transmission and methods of pathogen removal/inactivation. Here, we describe pathogens relevant to transfusion of blood products and discuss contemporary pathogen removal/inactivation procedures, as well as the potential risks associated with these products: the risk of contamination by infectious agents varies according to blood product/region, and there is a fine line between adequate inactivation and functional impairment of the product. The cost implications of implementing pathogen inactivation technology are also considered.

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