A consensus panel finds that the majority of transfusions may be unnecessary
by Edward Doyle
Published in the August 2009 issue of Today's Hospitalist
EVERY YEAR IN THE U.S., more than 14 million units of blood are transfused. That breaks down to 40,000 units every day.
But findings from a new consensus conference and observational study maintain that between 40% and 60% of red-cell transfusions are probably unnecessary. That’s because those transfusions are going to stable, nonhemorrhaging patients, very few of whom derive any actual benefit from the procedure, according to the study’s authors. Instead, the majority of clinical scenarios in which patients are transfused can lead to negative outcomes including a higher risk of lung injury, stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, infection or death.
Findings were first presented at a Society for the Advancement of Blood Management meeting this spring. Aryeh Shander, MD, one of the investigators and an anesthesiologist and critical care specialist at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in Englewood, N.J., More