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The role of pretransplant transfusion in cardiac allograft recipients was determined retrospectively in 68 patients. Three groups were studied: group 1 (n=29) received no pretransplant transfusion, group 2 (n=15) received transfusion over one year prior to transplantation, and Group 3 (n=24) received 5 or 10 50–100 ml units of random donor red blood cells or buffy coat 2–4 weeks prior to transplantation. Data were analyzed for survival, number of rejection episodes, and number of infections. Immunosuppression included azathioprine, prednisone, and antithymocyte globulin. Survival in transfused patients (groups 2 and 3) was 68% and 51% at 1 and 5 years, respectively, while in the nontrans-fused population (group 1) it was 35% and 16%. The incidence of rejection episodes per year of survival was similar in the three groups (group 1: 1.3, group 2: 1.1, group 3: 1.3; P<0.05). The number of infections per year of survival were greater in the transfused patients but this did not achieve statistical significance (group 1: 1.0, group 2: 1.2, group 3: 1.7; P<0.05). Thus, we conclude that cardiac transplant recipients who have received blood transfusions prior to transplantation may have enhanced survival over patients who have not received preoperative transfusions.

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