How does pregnancy increase the risk of transfusion reactions?

Updated: Jan 12, 2021
  • Author: S Gerald Sandler, MD, FCAP, FACP; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Multiparous women may form alloantibodies to leukocyte, red cell, or platelet antigens as the result of an overt or inapparent fetal-maternal hemorrhage. Women who form leukocyte antibodies following pregnancy are more likely to have febrile, nonhemolytic transfusion reactions if subsequently transfused with leukocyte-containing blood components.

Multiparous women who form IgG red cell alloantibodies may experience delays while serologically compatible red cells are located for future transfusions. Undetected weak IgG alloantibodies are unlikely to cause acute hemolytic reactions, but they may cause shortened survival of the transfused incompatible red cells.

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