What are the potential adverse effects of blood transfusion for the treatment of anemia?

Updated: Nov 26, 2019
  • Author: Joseph E Maakaron, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Hemolytic transfusion reactions and transmission of infectious disease are risks of blood product transfusions. Patients with autoimmune antibodies against RBCs are at greater risk of a hemolytic transfusion reaction because of difficulty in cross-matching the blood. Occasionally, the blood of patients with autoimmune hemolytic anemia cannot be cross-matched in vitro. In these cases, the patients require in vivo cross-matching, in which incompatible blood is transfused slowly and periodic determinations are made to ensure that the patient is not developing hemoglobinemia. This method should be used only in patients with either significant hypoxia from the anemia or evidence of coronary insufficiency.

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