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J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2012 Jan;72(1):48-52; discussion 52-3. doi: 10.1097/TA.0b013e31823f0465.

Emergency uncrossmatched transfusion effect on blood type alloantibodies.

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Department of Surgery, Alameda County Medical Center, UCSF East Bay, Oakland, California, USA.



Trauma patients receive emergency transfusions of unmatched Type O Rh-negative (Rh-) blood until matched blood is available. We hypothesized that patients given uncrossmatched blood may develop alloantibodies, placing them at risk for hemolytic transfusion reactions (HTRs).


Data regarding alloantibody profiles and HTR occurrence were collected from the records of trauma patients at our university-based trauma center who received emergency uncrossmatched blood from July 2008 to August 2010.


A total of 132 patients received 1,570 units of packed red blood cells. Mean injury severity score was 28 ± 1.3. Forty-five (34%) patients died: 27 on hospital day 1; the remaining 18 had no evidence of HTR before death. Four Rh- female patients received Rh+ fresh frozen plasma, but none received Rh+ packed red blood cells. Three Rh- male patients received both Rh+ packed red blood cells and fresh frozen plasma, and one received Rh+ fresh frozen plasma. One patient developed anti-Rh D antibodies. None experienced HTR. One female patient had HTR from reactivation of anamnestic JK antibodies. Thirteen (33%) of 39 patients met criteria for HTR based on urinalysis and 29 (40%) of 72 patients tested met criteria for HTR based on hemoglobin and bilirubin values. Only one patient had confirmed HTR.


High rates of injury recidivism in trauma patients increase the likelihood of multiple blood transfusions during their lifetime. Rh- patients who receive Rh+ blood are at risk of developing anti-Rh antibodies, putting them at risk for HTR. The conservation of Rh- blood for use in female patients may be detrimental to Rh- male patients. Laboratory diagnostic criteria for HTR are nonspecific in the trauma population and should be used with caution.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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