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Men Who Get Blood Transfusions From Pregnant Female Donors Might Be More At Risk

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Men under the age of 50 are more likely to die if they receive a blood transfusion from women who had been pregnant, a new study states.

Blood transfusions are usually a matter of simply matching blood types. But this research raises questions regarding risks in blood compatibility, Tech Times reports. It also suggests that health institutions might need to put more importance on matching sexes when it comes to giving and receiving blood.

According to researchers in the Netherlands, men who were transfused with blood from women who had gotten pregnant at one point in their lives, were 1.5 times more likely to die within the next three years, compared to those who received blood from a man. Female recipients, however, did not have the same risks.

The study looked at over 30,000 transfusion patients. Merlijn van Hasselt, a spokesperson for Sanquin – a “responsible for safe and efficient blood supply in the Netherlands on a not-for-profit basis” – said, “The risk remained increased for many years after transfusion. No such increase was observed for female recipients, or for male recipients over 50 years.”

According to Van Hasselt says that a woman’s pregnancy might have an effect on her immune system, somehow making her blood riskier for men. Both the study and the American Red Cross pointed out that the study is not conclusive enough to make changes in the way blood transfusions are currently matched.

But if further studies give more proof to the link between transfusions and sex, this study could cause a shift in how hospitals and health care facilities validate blood transfusions. More importantly, this means that thousands of transfusion patients across the planet may have died without knowing of this risk.

Dr. Louis Katz, chief medical officer of America’s Blood Centers, said, “It needs to be followed up.”

The study was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

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