Investigational use of PEGylated carboxyhemoglobin bovine in a Jehovah's Witness with hemorrhagic shock

Transfusion. 2018 Oct;58(10):2297-2300. doi: 10.1111/trf.14799. Epub 2018 Sep 11.


Background: Jehovah's Witnesses pose a clinical challenge in the setting of critical anemia. Most do not accept transfusions, but some accept hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers on a compassionate-use basis. PEGylated carboxyhemoglobin bovine (PCHB) is an acellular dual-action carbon monoxide (CO)-releasing and oxygen transfer agent currently being investigated in Phase II clinical trials.

Case report: We present the case of a 42-year-old Jehovah's Witness with an acute upper gastrointestinal bleed and hemorrhagic shock who required emergent PCHB for stabilization during lifesaving interventions. After PCHB infusion, the patient's shock and encephalopathy improved with decreased vasopressor requirement. Through gastroenterology and interventional radiology procedures, the patient's bleeding stabilized. While receiving five additional doses of PCHB and other supportive therapies (iron, folate, vitamin B12, darbepoetin alfa), the patient was extubated and weaned off vasopressors.

Conclusions: PCHB was used to stabilize (bridge) a critically ill anemic patient for lifesaving interventions without adverse effects. Additional studies are warranted to explore the drug's safety profile and efficacy in patients declining blood products.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Carboxyhemoglobin / administration & dosage*
  • Cattle
  • Critical Illness
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage
  • Humans
  • Jehovah's Witnesses / psychology*
  • Polyethylene Glycols / therapeutic use
  • Shock, Hemorrhagic / drug therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Carboxyhemoglobin