For most of the last half-century, blood transfusion has been looked
upon as relatively "risk free" and with obvious clinical benefit.1 A dramatic change in thinking occurred in the early
1980s, when concerns about transfusion-related infections, particularly those
caused by hepatitis C virus and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), prompted
reevaluation of the risks of allogeneic transfusion. Advances in transfusion
medicine have greatly decreased the risk of viral transmission through blood
transfusion; however, the approach to blood transfusion continues to be directed
toward achieving a zero-risk blood supply.2 Over
the last several years attention has focused on the advisability of the universal
application of leukoreduction to the blood supply.
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