Transfusion-Related Acute Lung Injury (TRALI) is a rare, life-threatening hazard of blood transfusion. In the intensive care unit, 37% to 44% of admitted patients are transfused with at least one blood component. The opportunity for health professionals and students from nursing, respiratory care, and clinical laboratory science to interact directly with patients receiving a blood transfusion is likely to present itself on a daily basis. It is imperative for those caring for critically ill patients to be fully aware of the clinical signs of TRALI and have knowledge in the prevention and treatment of this clinical syndrome. Common clinical signs of TRALI include cough, fever, and dyspnea. Treatment has been mostly supportive and aimed at reversing acute respiratory distress through oxygen therapy or mechanical ventilation. In 2004, a consensus panel and the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) working group characterized TRALI as new-onset acute lung injury (ALI) occurring within six hours of transfusion in patients without preexisting ALI. Although the condition is uncommon, knowledge of this clinical syndrome may help identify those patients at risk and may prevent lung injury and possible death due to this rarely encountered hazard of blood transfusion.

Author Bio(s)

  • Kevin Collins, MS, RRT, RPFT, AE-C, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Respiratory Care at Texas State University, San Marcos.
  • Thomas Patterson, MS, MT (ASCP), is an Assistant Professor in the Clinical Laboratory Sciences Program as Texas State University, San Marcos.




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