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Transfusion Reactions Up With Postpartum Blood Transfusion

THURSDAY, Aug. 1, 2019 -- Blood transfusions received postpartum are associated with an increased risk for transfusion reactions (TRs), especially among women with preeclampsia, according to a study published online July 31 in Blood Advances.

Lars Thurn, Ph.D., from Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, and colleagues linked data from the Swedish National Birth Registry to the Stockholm Transfusion Database to examine whether postpartum blood transfusions are associated with an increased risk for TRs. Background controls included nonpregnant women who received blood transfusions (89,684 women). Data were included for 517,854 pregnancies; 2.4 percent received a blood transfusion.

The researchers identified 96 events involving a TR postpartum for a prevalence of 79 per 10,000 compared with 360 events for a prevalence of 40 per 10,000 among nonpregnant women (odds ratio, 2.0). The single most important risk factor for TR was preeclampsia (odds ratio, 2.1).

"Although most blood transfusions are safe and, in many cases, lifesaving, the risk of adverse TRs should be considered when deciding whether a blood transfusion is necessary," the authors write. "Our findings suggest heightened attention be paid when patients with preeclampsia are being evaluated for blood transfusions postpartum."

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Posted: August 2019

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