Aims: To describe a patient with end-stage renal disease who developed non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema after transfusion of packed red blood cells. Design: Case report and literature review. Results: The patient under consideration is a 60-year-old woman who developed acute pulmonary edema after transfusion of packed red blood cells without concomitant dialysis. The initial diagnosis of fluid overload was managed by isolated ultrafiltration. Minimal fluid removal led to significant hypotension that was resistant to vasopressors. Subsequent pulmonary artery catheter readings were consistent with non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema. The patient improved spontaneously over the next few days with supportive care only. Plasma from the donors was checked for granulocyte antibodies and antibodies to HLA class I antigens. No granulocyte antibodies were detected in donor plasma but of one the HLA antibodies detected in donor plasma had specificity for a recipient HLA-A antigen. These characteristics supported a final diagnosis of transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI). Conclusions: Acute pulmonary edema following blood transfusion in a dialysis-dependent patient does not always signify fluid overload and nephrologists should be aware of the alternative diagnosis of TRALI. Proper awareness of TRALI will lead to prompt diagnosis and appropriate management.
- End-stage renal disease
- Non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema
- Transfusion-related acute lung injury
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