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February 27, 1967

Serum Haptoglobin: A Valuable Diagnostic Aid in Suspected Hemolytic Transfusion Reactions

Author Affiliations

From the Research and Medicine Department, Veterans Administration Hospital (Drs Fink and Petz) and the Department of Pathology, St Luke's Hospital (Dr. Black) San Francisco.

JAMA. 1967;199(9):615-618. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120090057010

A study of a large group of patients was undertaken to determine the effect of compatible whole blood transfusion on the level of serum haptoglobin in order to assess the usefulness of this measurement as a diagnostic test of hemolytic transfusion reactions. In the entire series of 185 patients there were only four cases in which the pretransfusion level was within normal limits and the posttransfusion level was less than 30 mg/100 ml. In all four cases, clinical information is available which adequately explains the drop in serum haptoglobin level. In the only three instances of hemolytic transfusion reactions in the San Francisco area that are known to the authors, the serum haptoglobin determined immediately after the reaction was zero. It is concluded that the measurement of serum haptoglobin is a valuable diagnostic aid in suspected hemolytic transfusion reaction and should be a routine part of the evaluation in all such cases.

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