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This is an acute (<24 hours), immunological, allergic transfusion reaction.
This reaction can range from one lesion to widespread urticarial lesions. This is commonly the only symptom but may be associated with mild upper respiratory symptoms, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps or diarrohea.
This occurs in 1% to 3% of transfusions.(1)
Hypersensitivity to allergens or plasma proteins in the transfused unit.
It is rarely due to donor medication.
Generally no investigations are required.
If there is more than simple urticaria, haemolysis should be excluded: Direct antiglobulin test (DAT), blood count and repeat ABO grouping may be indicated.
Stop transfusion immediately and follow other steps for managing suspected transfusion reactions.
Antihistamines may be given and once the reaction subsides, continue transfusion at a slow rate and complete within 4 hours of commencement.
Consult a haematologist before administering additional blood packs.
Consider premedication and/or washed red cells if the patient has recurrent allergic reactions to transfusion.