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February 7, 1996

Transfusion vs Anesthesia-Related Hepatitis-Reply

Author Affiliations

National Institutes of Health Bethesda, Md

JAMA. 1996;275(5):361-362. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530290031030

In Reply.  —The letter from Drs Abouleish and Berman raises an important point. The cause of hepatitis following blood transfusion is often difficult to determine, not only for the surgical patient but also for the oncology patient, the transplant patient, and the patient in the intensive care unit. Ideally, before making a diagnosis of posttransfusion viral hepatitis, one would like to know that the patient had no exposure to the virus before transfusion, had active viral infection after transfusion, and received blood containing the implicated agent. Such information is rarely available. More often the diagnosis is suspected, established, or excluded, on the basis of clinical presentation, serum chemistry determinations, and serology.Today, hepatitis in a surgical setting results from a number of infrequent causes in addition to allogenic blood, including medication, anesthetics, and even transmission from surgeon to patients.1 The efficacy of blood donor screening procedures has been demonstrated