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J Trauma. 2004 Sep;57(3):563-8; discussion 568.

Is a restrictive transfusion strategy safe for resuscitated and critically ill trauma patients?

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Centre for Transfusion and Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Health Research Institute, Ontario.



An analysis from the prospective multicenter randomized controlled trial (Transfusion Requirements in Critical Care Trial) compared the use of restrictive and liberal transfusion strategies with resuscitated critically ill trauma patients.


Critically ill trauma patients with a hemoglobin concentration less than 90 g/L within 72 hours of admission to the intensive care unit were randomized to a restrictive (hemoglobin concentration, 70 g/L) or liberal (hemoglobin concentration, 100 g/L) red blood cell transfusion strategy.


The baseline characteristics in the restrictive (n = 100) and liberal (n = 103) transfusion groups were comparable. The average hemoglobin concentrations (82.7 +/- 6.2 g/L vs. 104.3 +/- 12.2 g/L; p < 0.0001) and the red blood cell units transfused per patient (2.3 +/- 4.4 vs. 5.4 +/- 4.3; p < 0.0001) were significantly lower in the restrictive group than in the liberal group. The 30-day all-cause mortality rates in the restrictive group were 10%, as compared with 9% in the liberal group (p = 0.81). The presence of multiple organ dysfunction (9.2 +/- 6.3 vs. 9.0 +/- 6.0; p = 0.81), the changes in multiple organ dysfunction from baseline scores adjusted for death (1.2 +/- 6.1 vs. 1.9 +/- 5.7; p = 0.44), and the length of stay in the intensive care unit (9.8 +/- 8.1 vs. 10.2 +/- 8.7 days; p = 0.73) and hospital (31.4 +/- 17.1 vs. 33.7 +/- 17.7 days; p = 0.34) also were similar between the restrictive and liberal transfusion groups.


A restrictive red blood cell transfusion strategy appears to be safe for critically ill multiple-trauma patients. A randomized controlled trial would provide the appropriate level of evidence with regard to the daily use of blood in this population of patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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