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June 1995

The HIV Information Project for Transfusion Recipients a Decade After Transfusion

Author Affiliations

From the Divisions of Infectious Diseases (Dr King and Ms Murphy), Cardiology (Ms Newman and Dr McCrindle), and Haematology (Dr Poon), the Department of Paediatrics, the Quality Assurance Program (Dr Corey and Ms Stevens), and the Department of Public Affairs (Ms Irwin), The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Ontario; and The Laboratory Services Branch, Ontario Ministry of Health, Toronto (Ms Major and Dr Fearon).

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149(6):680-685. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1995.02170190090016

Objective:  To gather information on which to base decisions about a general notification program for pediatric patients a decade after their receiving transfusions.

Design:  The physicians of a cohort of 1793 patients who underwent cardiac surgery were sent letters asking them to contact and counsel patients identified from cardiovascular surgery and blood bank databases about their risk for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Questionnaires were used to collect data about physicians' HIV practices; telephone interviews were conducted to collect information about patients' and parents' knowledge and attitudes about HIV and transfusions. Because of unexpected media interest, questionnaires and interviews were modified to include questions about the source of information. The HIV-testing status of patients reported by physicians was anonymously cross-referenced with specimens received by the Laboratory Services Branch, Ontario Ministry of Health, Toronto.

Setting:  A large Canadian pediatric tertiary care hospital in Toronto.

Participants:  Seven hundred ninety-three patients undergoing cardiopulmonary bypass between 1980 and 1985.

Results:  The HIV Information Project successfully reached most (approximately 75%) of this cohort and, with the help of the media, many other at-risk transfusion recipients. The information was new for many; almost all informed wanted to undergo testing. The seroprevalence of this group that received multiple transfusions was, at minimum, 8.5 patients in 1000. Six previously unsuspected HIV-seropositive cases were diagnosed.

Conclusions:  Although we had assumed that most patients receiving transfusions would be aware of their risk for HIV infection, our results indicate that, even a decade after the transfusion, many recipients were not aware of the risk and wanted to undergo testing. Testing identified asymptomatic infected patients.(Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149:680-685)