Hemoglobin-Based Oxygen Carrier Rescues Double-Transplant Patient From Life-Threatening Anemia

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This case describes a 46-year-old male recipient of a kidney–pancreas transplant who is Jehovah's Witness. Early in the postoperative period, he was found to have splenic vein thrombosis requiring heparin infusion. Two days later, he developed severe symptomatic anemia (hemoglobin <6 g/dL). Standard medical therapy for bloodless surgical patients with severe anemia was instituted. Nevertheless, the patient's hemoglobin concentration continued to decline to critical levels (2 g/dL). Because he was Jehovah's Witness, transfusion of allogeneic blood products was not an option, prompting use of a hemoglobin-based oxygen carrier (HBOC). After approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the local institutional review board, 12 U of HBOC-201 were transfused over a period of 8 days. Two weeks later, the patient's hemoglobin levels had increased to 6.8 g/dL. The patient's overall clinical condition improved, and he was discharged home. This case describes the first use of HBOC transfusion in a double solid organ transplant patient. HBOC may represent a viable option in patients with severe symptomatic anemia when allogeneic blood transfusion is not an option.This report details the use of a hemoglobin-based oxygen carrier in the management of life-threatening postoperative anemia in a double organ transplant patient.

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