The Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO) has today published a position statement on the provision of cytomegalovirus tested blood components, together with a more detailed report.
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common herpes virus, which causes chronic symptom-free infection in most adults, but may have more serious consequences for some specific patient groups.
Currently all blood components provided for transfusion are leucodepleted (which reduces both the white cell content and also any CMV present), and for some recipients they are also screened for CMV antibodies so that CMV seronegative components can be provided.
SaBTO’s position statement
SaBTO has reviewed the evidence, and considered whether it supports the replacement of CMV seronegative cellular blood components (both red cells and platelets) with blood components which have been leucodepleted but not CMV screened.
SaBTO considered the potential risk for specific patient groups, given the possibility of more severe outcomes of infection in some. SaBTO concluded that the range of patients provided with CMV screened blood should be reduced.
The position statement sets out the background, the relevant factors for each patient group, and SaBTO’s conclusions and recommendations on the type of blood components suitable in each case.
Clinicians who opt to implement these recommendations will continue to prescribe CMV seronegative blood components only for those patient groups where SaBTO found the evidence supported its use.
The report from the SaBTO working group provides a more detailed account of the evidence and the group’s considerations, and the conclusions agreed by SaBTO.