Is Fever a contraindication for Blood transfusion?

In medical schools, we learn many things without knowing the actual reason behind it. One of them is the pre-transfusion fever in a patient being planned for blood transfusion which is considered as a contraindication for it in many departments and health centers. So, the questions that came into my mind were:

  1. What makes fever a contraindication for blood transfusion?
  2. Is pre-transfusion fever actually a contraindication for blood transfusion or just a misunderstanding?

These are what my search yielded:

Receiving and Administering A Blood Component (Simon Goodwin and Ruth O’Donnell) 1

Having a fever is not a contraindication to a patient receiving a blood transfusion; however, if the fever is new, it is advised that medical advice should be sought before the transfusion commences in case treating the fever is deemed to be a higher priority than the transfusion.

Blood Bank, Department of Pathology, Michigan Medicine 2

With physician approval, a transfusion may be administered to a febrile patient. However, if a patient is febrile, consideration should be given to postponement of the blood transfusion, since the fever may mask the development of a febrile reaction to the blood component itself.

Bloody Easy 4 – A Guide to Transfusion Medicine (4th Edition) 3

“Fever is not a contraindication to commencing a blood transfusion!”

There weren’t any sources that mentioned fever before the transfusion as the contraindication to transfusion itself. It seems that the only concern is that it may mask the fever that develops during transfusion which may be due to non-hemolytic or hemolytic reactions to blood products or contaminate blood products.

If you have a new insight into the issue, please comment below for discussion.


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