News

Blood Transfusions: Women's Blood Threatens Young Men?


A blood transfusion can be fatal if men receive blood from mothers

For example, if men need a transfusion after an accident, it is not only the blood type that is decisive, but also the question of who the blood comes from. Researchers have now found in an investigation that men die more often after transfusions if the blood comes from women who have already given birth to a child.

With a transfusion for men, doctors will have to pay attention to who donated the blood in the future. If it is a woman who is already a mother, this leads to an increased risk of death for the men. The Dutch scientists from the Leiden University Medical Center published the results of their study in the internationally recognized journal "JAMA".

Donating blood can be life-threatening for men

Most people should have heard that a blood donation can save lives. However, there seem to be decisive limitations to this statement. The blood of women who have already had a pregnancy is not so well tolerated by men. When men receive a transfusion with such blood, they subsequently die more often, the doctors explain. The death rate is significantly lower if men receive the blood from other men or from women who have not been pregnant before.

Experts analyze the data from more than 31,000 Dutch hospital patients

For their investigation, the researchers had analyzed the data from more than 31,000 patients. The participants were on average about 65 years old. The people affected had received a blood transfusion in one of six Dutch hospitals between 2005 and 2015.

Almost 4,000 subjects died after donating blood

Almost 4,000 blood donation recipients died in the course of the Dutch investigation. It was striking that the risk of dying after such a blood donation was not the same for all recipients, the scientists say. The doctors found that every year ten percent of the men who had previously received blood donation from mothers died. The death rate was lower when another man or woman's blood was used for transfusion without previous pregnancy.

Women are less likely to die after donating blood

The risk of dying was particularly high when the men were under 50 years of age. These men seem to generally tolerate the blood of women who have already had a pregnancy less well, the researchers report. In contrast, it looks very different for women. It doesn't really matter who women get a transfusion from. The death rates of women after blood donation were generally lower, the authors explain. The results of the study showed that only seven percent of women died after receiving the blood of a woman with a previous pregnancy. The chance of death was six percent if the blood donated came from a man.

Are antibodies in maternal blood dangerous for men?

Doctors suspect that certain antibodies in maternal blood may be responsible for this phenomenon. The antibodies are formed to protect the unborn child from various infections. But even after the baby is born, such antibodies remain in the mother's bloodstream. If this blood gets into a man's body through a transfusion, it can lead to health problems or even death there, the scientists explain.

What is the main cause of death for men after a transfusion?

The study found that the most common cause of death for patients was transfusion-associated lung insufficiency. This is a very dangerous and potentially fatal inflammation of the lungs, the doctors explain. Such a condition is more common after a transfusion if the donated blood comes from a woman who was previously pregnant.

Results from other studies were contradictory

Scientists had previously found out in various studies that there are possible connections between gender and the risk of premature death after a transfusion. However, the results of these studies were very contradictory, the researchers explain. In June, for example, the largest study of Swedish and Danish medical doctors to date showed that there was no ascertainable connection.

More research is needed

Further studies have to support and confirm the results. The mechanism responsible, which makes maternal blood so dangerous for younger men, desperately needs to be better understood. It is also interesting why this danger does not exist for women and older men. Until such examinations have been carried out, the current criteria for donating blood should not be changed, the experts advise. (as)

Author and source information


Video: Producing red blood cells in the lab for routine blood transfusions. Jasmin Agarwal. TEDxStuttgart (June 2021).