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N Engl J Med. 1987 Jul 23;317(4):242-5.

Transfusion-associated hepatitis and AIDS. What is the risk?


Infectious complications have been, and will continue to be, a problem in recipients of blood transfusions. Steps to exclude high-risk donors and to test for antibody to HIV, antibody to hepatitis B core antigen, and alanine aminotransferase almost surely have a beneficial effect on the blood supply. The risk of transfusion-transmitted infectious disease will never be nonexistent, and each transfusion will always have to be considered in terms of benefit versus risk. Patients and physicians need to understand that an absolutely safe blood supply is an unattainable goal, but that current approaches to donor selection and testing are highly effective in minimizing the risk of transfusion-transmitted infection.

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