Low rates of transfusion-transmitted infection screening in chronically transfused adults with sickle cell disease

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Background: Adults with sickle cell disease (SCD) on chronic transfusion therapy are exposed to a large volume of blood products, thus increasing their risk of transfusion-associated human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis C (HCV), and hepatitis B (HBV). Methods: We performed a systematic chart review of chronically transfused SCD subjects at the Johns Hopkins Sickle Cell Center for Adults between October 2014 and September 2019 to determine our Center's adherence to the 2014 National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) SCD guidelines for annual screening for Transfusion Transmitted infections (TTI) and assessed HBV immunity and HBV vaccination rates. Results: The study included 85 subjects with a median age of 34 years (23–63); 52% were female. No subject received annual screening; 68 subjects (80%) were screened for HIV, 60 subjects (71%) for HCV and 53 subjects (62%) for HBV infections at least once in the study period. Of those screened, one patient was newly diagnosed with HCV infection, and none with HIV or HBV infection. Among 31 subjects tested for anti-Hepatitis B surface antibody, 16 subjects (52%) tested negative. Nineteen (20%) subjects had HBV vaccination documented. Conclusions: Low adherence to the NHLBI TTI screening guidelines, especially for HBV, highlights the resource intensiveness of this patient population. The low rates of anti-Hepatitis B surface antibody positivity highlight the need to confirm vaccination, provide boosters as indicated, and investigate the adults with SCD's immune response to HBV vaccination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2421-2429
Number of pages9
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • HIV
  • guidelines
  • hepatitis B
  • hepatitis C
  • screening
  • sickle cell disease
  • transfusion transmitted infection
  • vaccination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Hematology


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