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Allergic reactions to transfused blood are fairly com­mon and only occasionally serious. Patients may experi­ence transient hives, itching, chills, and fever. Symptoms resolve quickly when the transfusion is stopped. Febrile nonhemolytic reactions, the most common type of reaction, apparently develop when antibodies in the patient's plasma attack antigens on lymphocytes, granulocytes, or plasma cells of the transfused blood.


Autoimmune disorders occur when a misdirected immune response causes the body's defenses to become self-destructive. Here are some types of autoimmune disorders:

·  Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic, usually progres­sive, inflammatory disease that primarily affects the sacroiliac, apophyseal, and costovertebral joints and ad­jacent soft tissue.

·  Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, systemic inflam­matory disease that primarily attacks peripheral joints and surrounding muscles, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels.

·  Scleroderma is a diffuse connective tissue disease characterized by fibrotic, degenerative, and occasionally inflammatory changes in the skin, blood vessels, synovial membranes, skeletal muscles, and internal organs.

·  Sjogren's syndrome, the second most common rheumatoid disorder, is marked by decreased secretions from the lacrimal and salivary glands.

·  Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the connective tissue. It affects multiple organ systems, is characterized by remissions and exacerbations, and can be fatal.

·  Vasculitis includes a broad spectrum of disorders char­acterized by inflammation and necrosis of blood vessels.


In immunodeficiency, the immune system is absent or de­pressed, resulting in increased susceptibility to infection. Also known as AIDS, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome causes progressive damage to the body's immune response and gradual destruction of cells — including T cells. The retrovirus human immunodefi­ciency virus (HIV) causes AIDS.

DiGeorge syndrome is a congenital aplasia or hypoplasia of the thymus that's caused by a missing gene on chromosome 22. This leads to a deficiency of T lymphocytes and compromises cell-mediated immunity. Iatrogenic immunodeficiency is a deficiency in the immune response that occurs as a complication of chemotherapy and other medical treatment.

Chapter 25.    CANCERS

Several types of cancer can affect the lymphatic and im­mune system:

·  Hodgkin's disease is a neoplastic disease character­ized by painless, progressive enlargement of lymph nodes, the spleen, and other lymphoid tissue.

·  Kaposi's sarcoma is a vascular malignancy character­ized by multiple red or purple macules, papules, or nod­ules. Initially apparent on the skin or mucous membrane, these lesions may spread to such internal organs and structures as the GI tract, the lungs, or lymph nodes.

·  Malignant lymphoma is a group of malignant diseases originating in lymph glands and other lymphoid tissue.

Chapter 26.    TREATMENTS

A variety of methods are used to combat disorders of the lymphatic and immune system, including drug therapy, ra­diation therapy, surgery, and bone marrow transplantation.

Here's a list of drugs commonly used to treat immune and lymphatic disorders:

·  Antilymphocyte serum, or antithymocyte globulin, is an anti-T-cell antibody that reduces the number and function of T cells. This suppresses cell-mediated immu­nity. The drug is used to prevent rejection of tissue grafts or transplants.

·  Corticosteroids are adrenocortical hormones widely used to treat immune disorders because of their anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant effects. These drugs stabilize the vascular membrane, blocking tissue infiltration by neutrophils and monocytes and thus in­hibiting inflammation.