Leukoreduction: A process used to filter and remove white blood cells from whole blood before transfusion. The reason why white blood cells (leukocytes) are removed from blood is because they provide no benefit to the recipient but can carry bacteria and viruses to the recipient. Patients who receive blood that has not been leukoreduced may have adverse effects, including fever with chills; alloimmunization, an immune system reaction which can compromise a later transfusion; and the transmission of viruses including cytomegalovirus (CMV) which can be dangerous for low-birth weight infants and to transplant patients.
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Last Editorial Review: 1/24/2017