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

Dr. Chris Tormey

Those who work in Blood Banks have struggled for decades to understand why certain patients can get transfused over and over and over and over and NEVER make any antibodies against blood group antigens like K, or Fya, or Jkb, while others seem to make a new antibody every single time they are transfused! Is there something going on with the patients that is different? Is it due to blood donor factors? Manipulations made to or age of the blood product? Or, is it something else we have not yet described?

Emerging Information

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

About My Guest:

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.

Free CE

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.

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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. Tormey nor I have any relevant financial disclosures.

Music Credit

Music for this episode includes “Cuando te invade el temor” and “Reflejo,” both by Mar Virtual via the Free Music Archive. Click the image below for permissions and license details.
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