The first Hope for Accreta Nationwide Blood Drive Day, scheduled for Friday, Jan. 10, will have special significance for Cincinnati schoolteacher Sarah Spite. She believes she owes her life to Hoxworth Blood Center, University of Cincinnati, which is a participating center.
Approximately 1 in 2,500 pregnancies experience placenta accreta, increta or percreta, a condition where the placenta attaches itself too deeply into the wall of the uterus. As a result, the placenta has difficulty detaching from the uterine wall, which can lead to hemorrhaging during attempts to remove it. The most effective treatment option is a planned Caesarean section with hysterectomy.
Due to the hemorrhaging risk, large blood transfusions are needed during delivery of a child whose mother has placenta accreta, increta or percreta. That was the case with Spite, a third-grade teacher at Mt. Airy School in the Cincinnati Public Schools.
"I was diagnosed with placenta previa/increta while pregnant with my second child,” she recalls. (In placenta previa, the placenta partially or totally covers the mother’s cervix.) "I suffered from multiple minor bleeding episodes throughout my pregnancy.”
Thirty-two weeks into her pregnancy (full term is 40 weeks), Spite began hemorrhaging and called 911. She was transported to UC Health University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where her son was delivered via C-section and a hysterectomy was performed.
"My surgical report states that I received 8 units of packed red blood cells, 6 units of FFP (fresh frozen plasma), one six-pack of platelets and 10 units of cryo (frozen blood product prepared from plasma),” Spite recalls. "I’m extremely grateful for those who donate blood!
"My surgeons told me that had I not been at UC Medical Center, I probably wouldn’t have survived. I think some of that had to do with the fact that the blood products were readily available.”
Spite and her child, Jackson, who turns 2 in February, are healthy and enjoying life with their family, which also includes husband Craig and older brother Landon.
Hope for Accreta was founded by Gina Walker, a "miracle mom” who was diagnosed with placenta percreta during her third pregnancy and required a total of 540 units of blood and blood products. The not-for-profit organization is based in San Antonio, Texas, with Walker serving as chief executive officer.
The Nationwide Blood Drive Day, planned as an annual event, will serve to raise awareness for placenta accreta, increta or percreta. For information on donating at a Hoxworth Neighborhood Donor Center, go to www.hoxworth.org. All donors in January will receive a Hoxworth fleece blanket.