Patients need less blood after surgery than is widely thought. A new study comparing 2 plans for giving blood transfusions following surgery showed no ill effects from postponing transfusion until patients develop signs of anemia or their hemoglobin concentration falls below 8 g/dL.
New England Journal of Medicine
Results of the National Heart and Lung and Blood Institute—funded study are published in today's edition of the . New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center is one of 47 centers participating in the FOCUS (Transfusion Trigger Trial for Functional Outcomes in Cardiovascular Patients Undergoing Surgical Hip Fracture Repair) study, led by Dr. Jeffrey Carson, Richard C. Reynolds Professor of Medicine at the UMDNJ—Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, NJ.
Dr. William Macaulay, a co-author and member of the FOCUS steering committee, says, "This study will help resolve the debate about how much blood patients need after surgery. More often than not, a blood transfusion isn't necessary, even for elderly and sick patients. ... The implications are enormous. Reducing the number of blood transfusions will greatly decrease blood use, potentially saving an enormous amount of money."
Sources: Newswise; New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center; UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School