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Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program. 2015;2015:454-61. doi: 10.1182/asheducation-2015.1.454.

Red blood cell transfusion for hematologic disorders.

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Division of Laboratory and Genomic Medicine, Department of Pathology and Immunology, and.
Division of Laboratory and Genomic Medicine, Department of Pathology and Immunology, and Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO.


Randomized clinical trials (RCTs) have determined, in surgical and critically ill patients, relatively safe hemoglobin (Hb) thresholds of 7-8 g/dL to guide restrictive transfusion of red blood cells (RBCs). However, in patients with various hematologic disorders, strong evidence in support of such an approach is sparse and the optimal transfusion practice is yet to be defined. This review focuses on RBC transfusion practice in three hematologic diseases and a treatment strategy, including autoimmune hemolytic anemia, thalassemia, myelodysplastic syndrome, and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. These entities manifest in a broad spectrum of anemia, acute or chronic, in patients with different comorbidities and degrees of transfusion requirement. Thus the nuances in the indications of RBC transfusion and the goals to achieve in these specific situations may have been underappreciated. The limited data available highlight the importance of titrating RBC transfusion based on the clinical context and patient characteristics. Future RCTs are necessary to firmly establish the Hb thresholds associated with improved outcomes relevant to these specific patient populations, which will facilitate the personalized decision-making in RBC transfusion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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