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Role of Blood Transfusions for Bleed Complications Studied

Last Updated: October 16, 2009.

Blood transfusions used for the treatment of hematocrit level drops due to bleeding after percutaneous coronary intervention do not result in improved mortality or myocardial infarction outcomes, according to a study in the Oct. 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

FRIDAY, Oct. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Blood transfusions used for the treatment of hematocrit level drops due to bleeding after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) do not result in improved mortality or myocardial infarction outcomes, according to a study in the Oct. 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

Gabriel Maluenda, M.D., of the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C., and colleagues studied a cohort of 625 patients who underwent PCI from 2003 to 2007, whose hematocrit was between 24 and 30 percent, and of whom 189 received transfusions and 436 did not. Study outcomes of death or myocardial infarction were compared at 30 days and one year.

The researchers found that the mean hematocrit decrease was greater in the patients receiving transfusions (13.23 versus 2.99 percent), as was the incidence of myocardial infarction at initial presentation (30.7 versus 14 percent) and cardiogenic shock (25.4 versus 8.1 percent). The occurrence of death and myocardial infarction was more frequent in the patients receiving transfusions at 30 days (14.8 versus 7.1 percent) and one year (28.6 versus 19.6 percent), but following adjustment for comorbidities and the mean hematocrit decrease, the 30-day and one-year outcome for the patients receiving transfusions were no longer worse than those not transfused.

"In conclusion, our data do not support the routine use of transfusion in patients who present with a nadir hematocrit of 24 to 30 percent after PCI," the authors write.

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