A patient undergoing treatment with cytotoxic chemotherapy for Hodgkin's disease developed graft versus host disease (GVHD) following a transfusion of packed red cells. This is the 28th reported patient with a malignancy who did not have a bone marrow transplant and developed GVHD after transfusion of normal blood or blood products. All patients had received cytotoxic chemotherapy prior to acquiring GVHD. The underlying malignancies included lymphoma, acute leukemia, neuroblastoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, and glioblastoma. Twenty‐three of the 28 patients died of GVHD. The incidence of transfusion‐related GVHD in this patient population is low but the illness is often fatal as treatment is largely ineffective. Transfusion‐related GVHD can be prevented by irradiating all blood products with 1500 rad prior to administration.
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