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Kids more likely to react to blood transfusions

May. 4, 2015, 9:00 AM

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Pediatric patients have a significantly higher incidence of transfusion reactions compared to adults, according to a study by Vanderbilt University researchers published last month in the journal Transfusion.

In what may be the first study to directly compare all types of transfusion reactions between children and adults, Fred Oakley, M.D., Ph.D., Pampee Young, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues mined Blood Safety Surveillance data at Vanderbilt University Medical Center between Jan. 1, 2011, to Feb. 1, 2013.

The overall reaction rate per 1,000 transfusions was 2.6 times higher in children than in adults. Common allergic, febrile non-hemolytic and hypotensive reactions to platelet and red blood cell transfusions were significantly increased in the pediatric population, but there was no difference between adults and children in the incidence of less likely severe and life-threatening reactions. Among pediatric patients, boys were almost twice as likely as girls to have transfusion reactions.

The findings will help families and caretakers of children make informed decisions when considering the option of transfusion, the authors concluded.

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