Granulocyte transfusion (GTX) is a therapeutic option for patients with prolonged neutropenia suffering from severe infections. Efficient granulocyte collection by apheresis from donors requires clear separation of granulocytes from red blood cells (RBCs), and infusion of high-molecular-weight (MW) hydroxyethyl starch (HES) facilitates RBC sedimentation. Recent research has shown that apheresis with medium-MW HES may prevent adverse effects of high-MW HES on donors, but the rationale for collection with medium-MW HES has yet to be evaluated. To validate the use of medium-MW HES, we first performed experiments with whole blood samples to determine how efficiently high-, medium- and low-MW HES separated granulocytes from RBCs, and found that medium-MW HES was just as efficient as high-MW HES. We also reviewed clinical data of granulocyte apheresis at our institution to evaluate granulocyte yields. Retrospective analysis of granulocyte collection revealed that apheresis with medium-MW HES yielded sufficient granulocytes for GTX and that donor anemia reduced collection efficiency. These results collectively may help us to establish a safer method for apheresis targeting polymorphonuclear granulocytes as an alternative to high-MW HES.
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