BACKGROUND: Interventional radiologists have developed percutaneous mechanical thrombectomy (PMT) devices to remove intravascular thrombi. Hemolysis, secondary to thrombus destruction from these devices, has been described in radiology journals, but similar reports appear to be lacking in the transfusion medicine literature. Two cases of hemolysis after PMT are described that involved the transfusion service, one of which was reported as a hemolytic transfusion reaction.
CASE REPORTS: The first patient received 4 units of red cells (RBCs) during a thrombectomy and subsequent placement of a transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt. The patient developed hemoglobinuria, and it was reported to the blood bank as a possible hemolytic transfusion reaction. After RBC mismatch and bacterial contamination were excluded, the hemolysis was attributed to thrombectomy-related mechanical hemolysis. In the second case, a hemolyzed sample was sent to the blood bank for a type and cross-match. Upon requesting that the sample be redrawn, it was learned that the sample was obtained after PMT.
CONCLUSION: Patients who have undergone PMT can have clinical and laboratory findings suggestive of hemolytic transfusion reactions. Although interventional radiologists are familiar with these side effects, the blood bank profession needs to be aware that these procedures cause nonimmune hemolysis and must consider this possibility when evaluating transfusion reactions in these patients.