Principles and problems of transfusion in sickle cell disease.
Sickle cell disease (SCD) is associated with red blood cell (RBC) abnormalities and moderate to severe anemia, and blood transfusion is naturally a mainstay of treatment. However, transfusion therapy for SCD may incur special and distinctive adverse effects. Thus, it is important to understand the indications for and goals of transfusion therapy and to be aware of the potential side effects of therapy. Years of unsystematic clinical observations, followed by more carefully designed and in some cases randomized studies, have contributed substantially to our knowledge of transfusion therapy in SCD. However, much remains unknown and areas of controversy persist. In addition, serologic barriers pose enduring roadblocks to the optimization of transfusion therapy for patients with SCD, and the syndrome of massive hemolytic transfusion reactions and hyperhemolysis in SCD persists as a life-threatening complication for which appropriate clinical management is not yet defined.
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