Blood Transfusions: The Immunologic Sequelae

  • J. P. Waymack
  • G. S. Branfman
  • B. A. Pruitt
Conference paper


Prior to the 1970s, it was believed that the administration of blood products to patients resulted in an immunostimulatory effect. This theory was based on two observations. The first was the widely established principle that the administration of incompatible red blood cells generated a strong immunologic reaction which resulted in massive red blood cell lysis (Landsteiner 1900). The second was the demonstration by Medawar that the administration of white blood cells obtained from a specific donor caused an immunization of the recipient that generated a more rapid rejection of skin allografts harvested from the same donor (Medawar 1946). These findings led transplant surgeons to avoid transfusing patients who were awaiting solid organ allografts. This policy continued until the early 1970s when a number of retrospective human studies and experimental animal work demonstrated that pretransplant transfusions decreased the rate and severity of allograft rejection (Halasz et al. 1964; Jenkins and Woodruff 1971; Fabre and Morris 1972; Opelz et al. 1973). As of 1985, there were more than 68 reports documenting that pretransplant transfusions decreased the rate of rejection of transplanted organs (Tiwari 1985).


Blood Transfusion Human Leucocyte Antigen Allogeneic Blood Sickle Cell Anemia Patient Allogeneic Transfusion 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. P. Waymack
  • G. S. Branfman
  • B. A. Pruitt

There are no affiliations available

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