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Monday, July 30, 2012

Do You Really Need that Blood Transfusion?

ABC WorldNews and USA today reports that the nation's blood supply is the lowest in 15 years--a clear hazard to those who require blood products.  But are there patients receiving blood transfusions who may not require it?  #dox

Current guidelines recommend the practice of restrictive blood transfusion.  Physicians are requested to not reflexively transfuse if the patient is not bleeding and not ischemic (body is getting the oxygen it needs) with a blood cell concentration above 7 to 8g/dL.  This guidelines also apply to patients with heart disease.  Restrictive transfusion has been shown to reduce side effects of blood transfusions and patients seem to do better during their hospitalization.  However, practice behavior has been to transfuse blood for a low red blood cell concentration regardless of the patients symptoms.

What would be the effect upon the nation's blood supply if we adhered to the guidelines for restrictive blood transfusion?