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May 1, 1972

Risk of Posttransfusion Hepatitis in the United StatesA Prospective Cooperative Study

JAMA. 1972;220(5):692-701. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03200050034009

Transfusion of 4,984 cardiovascular surgery patients with an average of 7.7 units of blood at 14 university medical centers resulted in symptomatic hepatitis in 2.8% and death in 0.1%. Among additional patients receiving fibrinogen and blood, the hepatitis incidence and mortality were 19% and 4%, respectively. These figures do not include 0.1% incidence of hepatitis within 15 days of receiving halogenated anesthetics, and 0.1% incidence of "postperfusion" syndrome. The risk of typical symptomatic posttransfusion hepatitis among the 14 centers varied, in order of correlation, with (1) the incidence of hepatitis type B antigen in donor blood, (2) the proportion of commercial donors, and (3) transfusion volume, and ranged from 0 to 8.6 per 100 patients, or 0 to 1.56/100 units of blood. Hepatitis was not prevented by intramuscular injections of immune serum globulin (γ-globulin) containing conventionally low amounts of hepatitis-B antibody.