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Teachable Moment
Less Is More
September 2015

Hidden Risks of Blood Transfusions: A Teachable Moment

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Saint Louis University, St Louis, Missouri
JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(9):1445-1446. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.2933

A man in his 20s with poorly controlled type 1 diabetes mellitus was admitted for osteomyelitis of the left lower leg and acute on chronic kidney disease. His systolic blood pressure was higher than 180 mm Hg, and he was noted to have anasarca. Laboratory examination demonstrated hypoalbuminemia and hyperphosphatemia in addition to clinically significant elevations of blood urea nitrogen and creatinine levels from baseline. Urine studies showed nephrotic range proteinuria. The patient’s renal injury, blood pressure, and fluid overload did not improve despite removal of all potential nephrotoxic agents and aggressive titration of antihypertensive and diuretic medications. In the setting of acute on chronic kidney disease, infection, and difficult-to-control hypertension, a renal biopsy was considered to determine definitive diagnosis.

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