What are the racial predilections for transfusion reactions?

Updated: Jan 02, 2019
  • Author: S Gerald Sandler, MD, FACP, FCAP; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Answer

In the United States, sickle cell anemia is found predominantly in the black population. Patients with sickle cell anemia require repeated red cell transfusions and, as a result, may form multiple alloantibodies to common Rh, Kell, Kidd, or other blood group antigens. The presence of such alloantibodies may increase the time required for a transfusion service to supply serologically compatible red cells. If undetected, these red cell alloantibodies may cause shortened survival of transfused red cells and extravascular hemolysis, but severe acute hemolytic reactions are uncommon. [48, 49]

In addition, patients with sickle cell anemia may experience delayed hemolytic transfusion reactions. The first clinical signs of these delayed reactions, which include dark urine/hemoglobinuria, appear a median of 9.4 days after the triggering transfusion. In one study, overall mortality was 6%. [50]


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