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EVIDENCE exists for hazards of blood transfusions that—while not as widely recognized as the risk of transmitting human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis infections—may, potentially at least, be just as deadly.
Some of these suspected risks were discussed at the conference entitled "Challenges and Changes in Transfusion Medicine," recently held by the American Association of Blood Banks and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in Bethesda, Md. (Please see accompanying article.)
There is growing evidence that homologous blood transfusions are immunosuppressive, says Paul Waymack, MD, associate professor of surgery, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston.Numerous animal studies have supported clinical observations that homologous blood transfusions may broadly impair the patient's immune system, says Waymack.He adds: "Allogeneic transfusions enhance tumor growth in animal studies and are correlated with decreased survival in multiple retrospective human oncology studies. Allogeneic transfusions also impair resistance to bacterial infections in animal models
Skolnick AA. Transfusion Medicine Faces Time of Major 'Challenges and Changes'. JAMA. 1992;268(6):697. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03490060013002