Not all blood transfusions might be safe
(Mirror Daily, United States) – A recent research revealed some distressing information regarding blood transfusions. It turns out men are at a higher risk of death after a transfusion if the donor was a woman who had been pregnant. Researchers cannot tell which is the cause of this association, but 10 years worth of data showed a higher mortality among these men.
Pregnant women might not be the best blood donors for men
The results of the study showed how male receivers younger than 50 were 1.5 more likely to die after blood transfusions coming from women who had been pregnant at least once in their lifetime. This is about six times the regular mortality in these cases.
The study used a sample of 31,118 patients, with almost 4,000 of them dying after the transfusions. As the most common cause of death, there was severe lung injury, which can rarely occur after a patient receives blood. Also, the statistics showed a higher chance of death among men who received transfusions from a woman who had been pregnant.
The study needs more research before the imposing of a restriction on transfusions
Although the cause of this phenomenon isn’t clear, researchers think it has to do with the changes suffered by the immune system during pregnancy. However, the risk could also be related to different in iron concentrations in the organism between a man and a pregnant woman, or to a vital difference between the two patients’ red blood cells.
However, the study was observational. The next step would be to identify the cause of this risk, the mechanism behind it, and to determine if the results are significant from a clinical point of view. In other words, before banning blood transfusions from mothers to men, it’s necessary to see if they pose a real risk. Until then, all people are encouraged to donate blood, regardless of sex or pregnancy status.
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