Febrile non-hemolytic transfusion reactions get no respect! Clinicians think they are a nuisance, and so do most blood bankers! However, a recent paper from Dr. Christine Cserti-Gazdewich and group suggests that they may be a bigger deal than you think.
Febrile reactions happen often (maybe not as often as before developed countries started removing white cells from cellular products, but still quite often). They are a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning they are what is left behind after you have ruled out other stuff. As a result, their impact is often minimized. Dr. Cserti-Gazdewich is senior author on a paper linked below that outlines the true cost of febrile reactions, and while the monetary numbers may not blow you away, the overall impact is significant! She takes us through a great discussion of how to recognize and understand these reactions, how to classify them, and how to evaluate their impact on patients.
Christine Cserti-Gazdewich trained in internal medicine and hematology in Toronto, and in transfusion medicine at the Harvard Joint Program in Boston. She is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, and at the University Health Network (UHN) she serves as a transfusion medicine specialist and a clinical hematologist, while providing remote associate medical directorship to other Ontario hospital transfusion services. Her local work focuses on transfusion immunohematology and hemovigilance, with interests in the hematology and hemotherapy of severe anemia in sub-Saharan Africa. Christine was an investigator in the TOTAL RCT (on blood storage effects in the transfusion of profound pediatric anemia), and in a clinical field trial examining host blood group relationships and survivorship under Plasmodium falciparum malaria selection pressure.
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DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed on this episode are those of my guest and I alone, and do not reflect those of the organizations with which either of us is affiliated. Neither Dr. Cserti-Gazdewich nor I have any relevant financial disclosures.