This retrospective, claims-based cohort study describes non-infectious transfusion reactions and risk factors among US elderly individuals in the outpatient setting. Data were retrieved from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ administrative databases in 2007 and 2008. Leukodepleted red blood cells was the most frequently transfused single blood component. The overall TRALI rates for RBC transfusion visits were 1.5 and 1.1 per 100,000 for 2007 and 2008, respectively. Comparison of ABO incompatibility rates for irradiated leukoreduced RBCs versus leukoreduced RBCs showed higher rates for irradiated RBCs. Although there are some minor design limitations, the study provides important data to supplement blood safety research.

– Rainer Moog