Early occurrence of red blood cell alloimmunization in patients with sickle cell disease

JWR Sins, BJ Biemond, SM van den Bersselaar, H Heijboer, Anita Rijneveld, Marjon Cnossen, JLH Kerkhoffs, AH van Meurs, FB von Ronnen, S Zalpuri, Yolanda de Rijke, CE van der Schoot, M Haas, JG van der Bom, K Fijnvandraat

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Red blood cell (RBC) alloimmunization is a major complication of transfusion therapy in sickle cell disease (SCD). Identification of high-risk patients is hampered by lack of studies that take the cumulative transfusion exposure into account. In this retrospective cohort study among previously non-transfused SCD patients in the Netherlands, we aimed to elucidate the association between the cumulative transfusion exposure, first alloimmunization and independent risk factors. A total of 245 patients received 11952 RBC units. Alloimmunization occurred in 43 patients (18%), half of them formed their first alloantibody before the 8th unit. In patients with exposure to non-extended matched transfusions (ABO and RhD) the cumulative alloimmunization risk increased up to 35% after 60 transfused units. This was significantly higher compared to a general transfused population (HR 6.6, CI 4.2-10.6). Receiving the first transfusion after the age of 5 was an independent risk factor for alloimmunization (HR 2.3, CI 1.0-5.1). Incidental, episodic transfusions in comparison to chronic scheme transfusions (HR 2.3, CI 0.9-6.0), and exposure to non-extended matched units in comparison to extended matching (HR 2.0, CI 0.9-4.6) seemed to confer a higher alloimmunization risk. The majority of first alloantibodies are formed after minor transfusion exposure, substantiating suggestions of a responder phenotype in SCD and stressing the need for risk factor identification. In this study, older age at first transfusion, episodic transfusions and non-extended matched transfusions appeared to be risk factors for alloimmunization. Am. J. Hematol. 91:763-769, 2016. (c) 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)763-769
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Hematology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Research programs

  • EMC MM-01-25-01
  • EMC MM-02-41-03
  • EMC MM-02-54-03

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