Clinical, Hematological, Blood Gasometric and Electrolytic Changes in Dogs Receiving Whole Blood Transfusions

Mariana Elisa Pereira, Darlan Henrique Canei, Yolanda Paim Arruda Trevisan, Carolina Zorzo, Adriane Jorge Mendonça, Jaqueline Konrad, Arleana do Bom Parto Ferreira de Almeida, Valéria Régia Franco Sousa


Background: Blood transfusion is a tool capable of saving lives. Patients undergoing blood transfusion usually present several alterations in the acid-base and electrolyte balance, aggravating the condition of critically ill patients. Some studies have demonstrated haematological alterations in certain species that received whole blood transfusions, however, few studies have evaluated acid base and electrolyte changes in dogs undergoing whole blood haemotherapy. The aim of this study was to analyze clinical, hematological, blood gas and electrolyte changes in anemic dogs after whole blood transfusion.

Materials, Methods & Results:Twenty nine dogs transfused due to anemia were enrolled in the study. Donors blood was collected in a transfusion bag containing citrate phosphate adenine dextrose and stored up to 24 h. Blood collections and evaluations were made before and 24 h after the transfusion. Data distribution normality was tested by the Shapiro Wilk Test. The means of the variables were compared by paired t-test. It was observed an increase in diastolic blood pressure and a reduction in heart rate (P < 0.05). There was a not significant increase in systolic blood pressure, temperature, and a reduction in respiratory rate per minute. Erythrocyte, haemoglobin and haematocrit averages were significantly increased after blood transfusion (P < 0.05). It was observed a reduction in the mean values of pH (P < 0.05), potassium (P > 0.05) and ionized calcium (P > 0.05) and an increase in the mean partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2) (P < 0.001), bicarbonate (P > 0.05) and sodium (P < 0.05). The probable cause of anemia was monocytic ehrlichiosis (14/29), visceral leishmaniasis (1/29), babesiosis (1/29), co-infection of Ehrlichia canis and Leishmaniainfantum (2/19), co-infection of E. canis and Babesia vogeli (1/19). It was not possible to determine the etiology of the anemia in ten dogs.

Discussion:Heart rate significantly reduced after transfusion, probably because of the increase in hematocrit, hemoglobin and erythrocyte values. It may be justified by the displacement of extravascular fluid to the intravascular space. Mean values of systolic blood pressure were slightly elevated before transfusion and remained elevated afterwards, while diastolic and mean arterial pressure increased significantly after transfusion. These changes may be due to the morbid condition and may be influenced by many other factors. Haematocrit, haemoglobin and erythrocyte values increased significantly after transfusion, according to what was observed in other studies. The significant reduction in pH and increase in pCO2 reflects the compensatory mechanism for metabolic acidosis to increase ventilation, leading to pCO2 reduction and changes in pH. The reduction in pH due to the contact of the collected blood with conservative solutions is one of the main changes thar occurs during blood storage. It was described significantly lower pH in dogs’ whole blood samples stored for more than 24h in vacutainer plastic containing CPDA-1. We may assume there was no intense pH reduction in the present study because the bags were stored for up to 24 h. Although not statistically significant, the increase of pO2 mean reflects the improvement of tissue oxygen perfusion. It was observed a significant increase in sodium ions. The mean sodium ionconcentration before transfusion was very close to the maximum reference value. Hyperkalaemia was not observed, nor was there significant reduction of potassium ions after transfusion. Several studies report hyperkalaemia and transfusion-associated cardiac arrests in humans, associated with infusion of large volumes of blood. Whole blood transfusion increased erythrogram values and did not negatively affect the electrolyte or acid-base status, representing a safe and useful tool in the intensive care of small animals.


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