October 31, 2018 – Too Much Blood


Anchor lead: Limiting transfusions is best for all concerned, Elizabeth Tracey reports

People who’ve had cardiac surgery and were given fewer transfusions did just as well six months later as those who got more blood, a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine found. Steve Frank, a transfusion expert at Johns Hopkins, isn’t surprised.

Frank: The bottom line is giving extra blood to patients doesn’t help, and only adds risk and cost. So there’s now 9 randomized studies in the New England journal or JAMA, mostly in the last decade, that show that giving extra blood to patients is not helpful. And four of the nine studies actually show harm in giving more blood than is needed. :25

Frank describes the most serious harm.

Frank:  The number one cause of transfusion related death is called TRALI, for transfusion related acute lung injury.  :07

Frank says many hospitals are on now on board with limiting transfusions unless they’re really needed. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.