A patient, who underwent aortic valve replacement, developed a transient, autoimmune haemolytic anaemia in association with a significant rise in titre of antibodies against cytomegalovirus. A serological survey of blood donors indicated that the source of infection was fresh blood transfused during and shortly after surgery. A number of cases of short-lived haemolytic anaemia after large volume blood transfusion with cardiac surgery may be explained by this mechanism. It may be preferable to use only blood that has been screened for evidence of recent cytomegalovirus infection if post-perfusion complications of this disease are to be avoided.
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