Safe: Smaller Blood Transfusions Good for Patients

Patients with heart disease, who receive transfusions during surgeries do just as well with smaller amounts of blood and face no greater risk of dying from other diseases than patients who received more blood, the findings showed.

The researchers found no evidence of increased mortality from cardiovascular disease, cancer or severe infection due to the amount of the blood given after surgery.

For patients who require blood for treatment, giving smaller transfusions is better than more, new research has found, giving credence to a recent trend toward smaller transfusions.

“I think it is very reassuring that we have found that using less blood is okay not just from a short term perspective, but also a long term perspective,” said lead researcher Jeffrey Carson from Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in the US.

“If physicians performing surgeries and other procedures overestimate and provide too much blood, the patient’s circulatory system can be overloaded and breathing can be affected,” Carson pointed out. The risk of infection can also increase. “There are definite risks associated with transfusion,” he added.

Fewer transfusions also benefit society, he said, by preserving the blood supply and preventing shortages.

For the study, the researchers followed 2,016 patients for as long as four years. Half of the patients received larger quantities of transfused blood; half received transfusions which were smaller by as much as two thirds.

The study was published in the journal Lancet. (IANS)


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