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J Clin Gastroenterol. 2015 Mar;49(3):206-11. doi: 10.1097/MCG.0000000000000200.

Transfusion-free management of gastrointestinal bleeding: the experience of a bloodless institute.

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*Department of Medicine ‡Department of Gastroenterology, Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, Englewood, NJ †University of Miami Leonard Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL.



The Institute for Patient Blood Management and Bloodless Medicine at the Englewood Hospital has considerable experience in managing patients with gastrointestinal bleeding who do not accept blood-derived products. We present our data and experience over the last 8 years in managing such patients.


There is paucity of data on management and outcomes of gastrointestinal bleeding in patients who do not accept blood-derived products.


We performed a retrospective study of patients from 2003 to 2011 presenting with gastrointestinal bleeding who do not accept blood-derived products. Inclusion criteria were either overt bleeding with a presenting hemoglobin (Hb) of <12 g/dL or a decrease in Hb of >1.5 g/dL.


Ninety-six patients who met the inclusion criteria were included. Forty-one upper and 48 lower gastrointestinal bleeding sources were identified. Mean Hb was 8.8 g/dL and mean nadir was 6.9 g/dL. Among 37 patients (80.5%) with Hb ≤6.0 g/dL, 30 (81%) survived. Four of 7 patients (57%) with a Hb <3 g/dL survived. The overall mortality rate was 10.4%. In unadjusted logistic regression models, age [1.06 (1.01-1.12 y)], admission to ICU [6.37(1.27-31.9)], and anticoagulation use [6.95 (1.57-30.6)] were associated with increased mortality. Initial Hb [0.68 (0.51-0.92)] and nadir Hb [0.48 (0.29-0.78)] inversely predicted mortality.


These results suggest that transfusion-free management of gastrointestinal hemorrhage can be effective with mortality comparable with the general population accepting medically indicated transfusion. Management of these patients is challenging and requires a dedicated multidisciplinary team approach knowledgeable in techniques of blood conservation.

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