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scientific articles

Early occurrence of red blood cell alloimmunization in patients with sickle cell disease

key information

source: American Journal of Hematology

year: 2016

authors: Sins JW, Biemond BJ, van den Bersselaar SM, Heijboer H, Rijneveld AW, Cnossen MH, Kerkhoffs JL, van Meurs AH, von Ronnen FB, Zalpuri S, de Rijke YB, Ellen van der Schoot C, de Haas M, van der Bom JG, Fijnvandraat K


Red blood cell (RBC) alloimmunization is a major complication of transfusion therapy in sickle cell disease (SCD). Identification of high-risk patients is hampered by lack of studies that take the cumulative transfusion exposure into account. In this retrospective cohort study among previously non-transfused SCD patients in the Netherlands, we aimed to elucidate the association between the cumulative transfusion exposure, first alloimmunization and independent risk factors. A total of 245 patients received 11 952 RBC units. Alloimmunization occurred in 43 patients (18%), half of them formed their first alloantibody before the 8th unit. In patients with exposure to non-extended matched transfusions (ABO and RhD) the cumulative alloimmunization risk increased up to 35% after 60 transfused units. This was significantly higher compared to a general transfused population (HR 6.6, CI 4.2-10.6). Receiving the first transfusion after the age of 5 was an independent risk factor for alloimmunization (HR 2.3, CI 1.0-5.1). Incidental, episodic transfusions in comparison to chronic scheme transfusions (HR 2.3, CI 0.9-6.0), and exposure to non-extended matched units in comparison to extended matching (HR 2.0, CI 0.9-4.6) seemed to confer a higher alloimmunization risk. The majority of first alloantibodies are formed after minor transfusion exposure, substantiating suggestions of a responder phenotype in SCD and stressing the need for risk factor identification. In this study, older age at first transfusion, episodic transfusions and non-extended matched transfusions appeared to be risk factors for alloimmunization.

organization: Emma Children's Hospital, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam; University Medical Center, Rotterdam; University Medical Center-Sophia Children's Hospital, Rotterdam; Haga Hospital; Leiden University Medical Center; Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation, Amsterdam

DOI: 10.1002/ajh.24397

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