Transfusion medicine
Transfusion transmitted disease
Bacterial contamination in platelet products

Topic Completed: 1 September 2011

Minor changes: 5 April 2019

Copyright: 2002-2017,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Bacterial contamination in platelet products "loattrfree full text"[sb]

Huy Phu Pham, M.D., M.P.H.
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Cite this page: Pham H. Bacterial contamination in platelet products . website. Accessed May 30th, 2020.
Definition / general
  • In 2004, the AABB implemented standard that blood collection and transfusion facilities must have some techniques to detect and limit bacterial contamination of platelet products
  • This led to significant reduction of bacterial contamination risk in platelets
  • Bacterial testing of platelets is required in U.S. and Canada (Transfusion 2007;47:421)
  • Bacteria are usually from skin flora (Propionibacterium acnes, Staphylococcus epidermidis)
  • Cultures detect only half of contaminated units at median 0.7 days for aerobic cultures or 3.7 days for anaerobic cultures (Transfusion 2007;47:644)
  • Reagent strips are inadequate for detection of bacteria (Arch Pathol Lab Med 2004;128:852)
  • Photochemical treatment with amotosalen and ultraviolet A may reduce risk (Transfusion 2007;47:1125)
  • After implementation of AABB policy, risk of septic reactions is 1 in 75,000 platelet transfusions, risk of death from sepsis is 1 in 500,000 products (50% reduction from pre-AABB policy)
  • Bacterial contamination risk is higher for two arm apharesis procedures (Transfusion 2007;47:1134)
  • Recommended to divert first 30 - 50 mL of blood containing skin plug and associated bacteria and to use effective skin disinfection methods (Transfusion 2006;46:476)
  • In 2004, CAP added a phase I item to the Laboratory Accreditation Checklist, TRM.44955: "Does the laboratory have a system to detect the presence of bacteria in platelet components?" (Arch Pathol Lab Med 2004;128:958) and is subject of AABB standard (Arch Pathol Lab Med 2004;128:279)
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