A patient is waiting for a transfusion, but there’s a problem! “Alloimmunization” has occurred (gasp!), and the patient now “has an antibody.” Dr. Chris Tormey wants you to understand why some people make non-ABO antibodies and others just don’t.
Dr. Chris Tormey has made understanding this very issue, alloimmunization to non-ABO blood group antigens, the centerpiece of his research efforts. He shares plenty of new information in this interview that answers many of the above questions. He also shares a real-world story of a patient who narrowly averted disaster as a result of undetected alloimmunization (what Chris and his team did to avoid a calamitous outcome will surprise you!). Be prepared, though; he will also scare you a little, with quotes like this one below:
Our estimates show that about TWO-THIRDS of antibodies can become undetectable over time!Chris Tormey, MD
Chris Tormey, MD, is a pathologist who is board-certified in Clinical Pathology as well as Blood Banking/Transfusion Medicine. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine at Yale University in New Haven, CT. He serves as Medical Director of the Transfusion Service at VA Connecticut Healthcare in West Haven, CT, and also provides clinical pathology, transfusion, and laboratory hematology services at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Dr. Tormey is the Director of the Transfusion Medicine fellowship program at Yale, and teaches students, residents, and fellows at the Yale School of Medicine.
Chris has several investigative interests, including, most prominently, the topic of this interview, Alloimmunization to non-ABO antigens in the settings of transfusion or pregnancy. He is widely published, and has won several awards for his research and teaching efforts. In 2014, the American Society for Clinical Pathology named him to the prestigious “40 under Forty” list of outstanding young leaders in pathology.
Dr. Tormey is a graduate of New York Medical College and trained in Clinical Pathology and Blood Banking/Transfusion Medicine at Yale.
This podcast episode offers a FREE continuing education activity where you can earn the following types of credit: 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM, 1 ASCLS P.A.C.E. ® Contact Hour (including Florida Clinical Laboratory Credit), and American Board of Pathology Self-Assessment Modules (SAMs) for Maintenance of Certification MOC).
To receive credit, review the accreditation information and related disclosures, please visit Transfusion News Continuing Education on Wiley Health Learning.
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. Tormey nor I have any relevant financial disclosures.
- Great article summarizing many parts of what is discussed in this episode: Gehrie EA and Tormey CA. The Influence of Clinical and Biological Factors on Transfusion-Associated Non-ABO Antigen Alloimmunization: Responders, Hyper-Responders, and Non-Responders. Transfus Med Hemother 2014;41:420–429.
- Article Dr. Tormey mentioned regarding alloimmunization in sickle cell patients: Chou ST et al. High prevalence of red blood cell alloimmunization in sickle cell disease despite transfusion from Rh-matched minority donors. Blood 2013;122:1062-1071.
- FDA Blood Donation and Transfusion Fatalities Listing:Link
- Article on preventing and mitigating effects of alloimmunization:Hendrickson JE et al. Red Blood Cell Alloimmunization Mitigation Strategies. Transf Med Rev 2014;28(3):137-144.
- Study on how often antibodies disappear (“evanescence”): Tormey CA and Stack G. The persistence and evanescence of blood group alloantibodies in men. Transfusion 2009;49:505-512.
- Study on record fragmentation (patients visiting multiple hospitals for care): Unni N et al. Record fragmentation due to transfusion at multiple health care facilities: a risk factor for delayed hemolytic transfusion reactions. Transfusion 2014;54:98-103.