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How do transfusions affect CD4 count, and anemia
Jan 17, 2009

How do transfusions affect CD4 count, and anemia? My dad's getting constant transfusions for anemia and to raise his T cell count, but Dr. Frascino previously said transfusions don't affect CD4 count. Are my dad's doctor's wrong and just relying on transfusions too easily. Could he be a candidate for epoetin instead of transfusions?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Blood transfusions are an appropriate and sometimes lifesaving treatment for severe anemia (low red blood cell count/low hemoglobin). Transfusions (of red blood cells) do not affect CD4 cells, which are types of white blood cells. Assuming your father is HIV positive, antiretroviral drug therapy would have the best chance to increase his CD4 cell count.

Regarding epoetin, your father may be a candidate if indeed he's requiring "constant transfusions for anemia." He should discuss this possibility with his doctor.

Dr. Bob


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