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Transfusion reaction - hemolytic

Definition

Alternative Names

Blood transfusion reaction

Causes

Symptoms

Exams and Tests

This disease may change the results of these tests:

Treatment

Therapy can prevent or treat the severe effects of a hemolytic transfusion reaction. If symptoms occur during the transfusion, the transfusion must be stopped immediately. Blood samples from the person getting the transfusion and from the donor may be tested to tell whether symptoms are being caused by a transfusion reaction.

Mild symptoms may be treated with:

  • Acetaminophen, a pain reliever to reduce fever and discomfort
  • Fluids given through a vein (intravenous) and other medicines to treat or prevent kidney failure and shock.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The outcome depends on how bad the reaction is. The disorder may disappear without problems. Or, it may be severe and life-threatening.

Possible Complications

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Tell your health care provider if you are having a blood transfusion and you have had a reaction before.

Prevention

Donated blood is put into ABO and Rh groups to reduce the risk of transfusion reaction.

Before a transfusion, patient and donor blood are tested (crossmatched) to see if they are compatible with each other. A small amount of donor blood is mixed with a small amount of patient blood. The mixture is checked under a microscope for signs of antibody reaction.

Before the transfusion is given, the health care provider will usually check again to make sure you are receiving the right unit of blood.

References

Choat JD, Maitta RW, Tormey CA, et al. Transfusion reactions to blood and cell therapy products. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ Jr, Silberstein LE, Heslop HE, Weitz JI, eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2012:chap 120.

Goodnough L. Transfusion medicine. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 180.


Review Date: 3/3/2013
Reviewed By: Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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