HIV/AIDS Influences Blood and Blood Product Use at Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town (Original Articles) (Report)
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is associated with cytopenias of all major blood cell lines. Anaemia occurs in up to 70% of patients with HIV/AIDS, and thrombocytopenia, neutropenia or lymphopenia in 40 – 70%. (1) The incidence and severity of cytopenias correlate directly with the degree of immunosuppression, while isolated haematological abnormalities, particularly anaemia and thrombocytopenia, may be the initial presentation of HIV infection. (2) HIV infection should be considered when assessing patients presenting with any cytopenia, although the causes of haematological abnormalities in HIV infection are often multifactorial. Blood and blood products are the mainstay of therapy for severe cytopenias and coagulopathies. Apart from the risks of transfusion reactions, transmissible infection and development of allo-antibodies, blood and blood products are expensive. In the 2000/2001 financial year, the annual cost of blood transfusions in the UK was estimated to be 898 million [pounds sterling]. (3) No similar cost estimation has been done in South Africa.