Rising birth complications show need for blood donations

September 24, 2018

The rate of severe complications during obstetric emergencies in the United States increased 45 percent from 2006 to 2015, according to new research done by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

The most common medical treatment performed during these high-risk pregnancies was a blood transfusion, mainly for conditions such as circulatory shock, amniotic fluid embolism, sickle cell disease and disseminated intravascular coagulation.

Nationally, about 2.2 percent of red blood cell transfusions are used for obstetrics and gynecology, according to the 2013 AABB Blood Survey Report.

The demographic most affected by life-threatening complications were minority women in the United States, over 40 years old, from low income, on Medicaid, and lived in large cities. Black women were particularly at high risk of complications. Statistics for this study can be found in the AHRQ report.

The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center addresses this public health issue by providing blood, plasma, platelets, and other blood components to hospitals in more than 40 South Texas counties.

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