Restrictive Blood Transfusion Strategies Associated with Reduced Infection Risk

April 9, 2014 | Strategic Insights for Health System


Using red blood cell transfusion strategies with more restrictive thresholds is associated with a reduced risk of acquiring healthcare-associated infections, according to the results of a study published in the April 2, 2014, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study, which assessed 18 clinical trials that compared restrictive red blood cell transfusion strategies with more liberal ones, evaluated whether the risk of infection varied by the degree of hemoglobin threshold restriction (i.e., less than 7.0 g/dL in the restrictive transfusion group). The researchers found that the pooled risk of all serious infections was 11.8% for the restrictive group and 16.9% for the liberal group. The data revealed that for trials with a restrictive hemoglobin threshold of less than 7.0 g/dL, 1 of every 20 patients could potentially avoid a healthcare associated infection.

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