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Bone Marrow Transplant. 2008 May;41(10):837-44. doi: 10.1038/bmt.2008.5. Epub 2008 Feb 4.

SCT in Jehovah's Witnesses: the bloodless transplant.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Auto-SCT and Allo-SCT are procedures conventionally associated with intensive transfusion support. This dependence has historically prevented SCT in individuals with religious or personal objections to transfusion. More recently, a growing body of literature supports the feasibility of 'bloodless transplants': SCT without the transfusion of RBCs, plts or plasma. It is possible to perform 'bloodless' autologous or reduced-intensity allogeneic transplants in properly selected patients. The success of these procedures depends on the transplantation technique and on meticulous attention to blood conservation and supportive care. In this study, the literature supporting bloodless transplantation will be reviewed. Supportive measures such as the optimal stimulation of erythropoiesis and thrombopoiesis in the transplant patient will be discussed, as will the prevention and management of bleeding during extreme thrombocytopenia. Many of these techniques, learned and refined in Jehovah's Witnesses, may help reduce bleeding and transfusion requirements in the general transplant population.

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