Home Topics What is Irradiated Blood

Latest

Gardnerella vaginalis

Gardnerella Vaginalis

Definition Gardnerella vaginalis is the name of a micro-aerophilic coccobacillus found in the vaginal flora. Gardnerella vaginalis does not cause bacterial vaginosis (vaginal infection) unless...
Acetic Acid

Acetic Acid

Definition Acetic acid is a mildly corrosive monocarboxylic acid. Otherwise known as ethanoic acid, methanecarboxylic acid, hydrogen acetate or ethylic acid, this organic compound is...
Amino Acids

Amino Acids

Definition Amino acids are the building blocks of polypeptides and proteins and play important roles in metabolic pathway, gene expression, and cell signal transduction regulation....
BCAA supplements: a muscle myth?

Branched Chain Amino Acids

Definition The branched-chain amino acids or BCAAs, leucine, isoleucine, and valine are three of the nine nutritionally essential amino acids. These three ingredients form a...
Sulfuric acid

Sulfuric Acid

Definition Sulfuric acid (sulphuric acid) is a corrosive mineral acid with an oily, glassy appearance that gave it its earlier name of oil of vitriol....
Bile salt action in the gut

Bile Salts

Definition Bile salts are found in bile, a secretion produced by liver cells to aid digestion. Although bile is 95% water, bile salts are its...
The salivary glands

Submandibular Gland

Definition Submandibular glands are the second-largest salivary gland type, producing around 65% of our saliva when unstimulated (at rest). Located under the jaw, the exocrine...
Metaphase I

Metaphase I

Definition The first metaphase of meisosis I encompasses the alignment of paired chromosomes along the center (metaphase plate) of a cell, ensuring that two complete...
Prophase II

Prophase II

Definition During prophase II of meiosis II, four important steps occur. These are the condensing of chromatin into chromosomes, disintegration of the nuclear envelope, migration...

Aldosterone

Definition Aldosterone (C21H28O5) is a mineralocorticoid hormone compound secreted by the adrenal gland cortex. It is part of the renin angiotensin aldosterone system or RAAS...

What is Irradiated Blood

Irradiated blood is used to prevent transfusion-associated graft-versus host disease (TA-GvHD) in people who received bone marrow transplants or transfusions of blood components. The disease can also affect a person who receives a blood transfusion from a close relative who is homozygous for certain human leukocyte antigens (HLA).

The risk of developing TA-GvHD is small, but patients who should take the precaution of using irradiated blood include those with a weakened immune system due to Hodgkin’s disease, people who have taken certain chemotherapy drugs, unborn babies, and babies who need exchange transfusions. Other indications include non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myelomas, Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia, severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), and Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome

TA-GvHD

The irradiation process kills the donor’s T-lymphocytes which are the main cause of TA-GvHD. Unless the T-lymphocytes are destroyed, they will graft themselves in the recipient’s tissues. If the person’s own immune system is incapable of mounting an immune response to them, the T-lymphocytes get the upper hand and attack the recipient’s body as if it were a foreign invader.

Between 4 and 30 days after transfusion, the resulting cascading immune response causes fever, rash, diarrhea, hepatitis, and reduced levels of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets (pancytopenia). Experts describe attempts to treat TA-GvHD as “difficult to futile.” The disease is fatal about 90% of the time, and death occurs due to an infection the patient can’t fight off or hemorrhaging caused by the pancytopenia.

How Blood is Irradiated

Blood is irradiated by exposing the bags to gamma radiation from cobalt-60 or cesium-137 using an instrument called an irradiator. The minimum radiation dose to kill the T-lymphocytes of 25 Gy10. Another method uses X-rays generated by a linear accelerator. When irradiating just red blood cells, they should be treated within 14 days of their expiration date and stored for a maximum of 28 days or until their expiration, whichever comes first.

Blood does not become radioactive after it is irradiated, and it does not present a danger to the recipient or their family members. The process does not damage healthy blood cells or platelets, but it does shorten the shelf life slightly because the cells lose some of their salt content.

References

  • Alter, H. J., & Klein, H. G. (2008). The hazards of blood transfusion in historical perspective. Blood, 112(7), 2617–2626. https://doi.org/10.1182/blood-2008-07-077370
  • Anwar, M., & Bhatti, F. A. (n.d.). Transfusion-Associated Graft Versus Host Disease. Retrieved May 3, 2018, from http://www.ayubmed.edu.pk/JAMC/PAST/15-3/masood.htm