Variations in the Use of Blood Transfusion in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease

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Blood transfusions are frequently given to patients to treat low hemoglobin levels in the setting of non-ST-segment elevation acute coronary syndromes, percutaneous coronary intervention, and coronary artery bypass grafting. Evidence suggests that blood transfusion therapy in the setting of ischemic heart disease is associated with an increased risk for morbidity and mortality; however, there are no randomized clinical trials concerning transfusion strategies in ischemic heart disease. The evidence to date is observational and subject to confounding influences. This lack of definitive data has led to wide variations in transfusion practice in both the US and the international medical community. The purpose of this article is to examine the current literature concerning the transfusion practice of whole or packed red blood cells in the US and internationally in patients with ischemic heart disease. We propose that a prospective, randomized, controlled trial of transfusion strategies in ischemic heart disease is needed to determine the role of transfusion in this patient population.

Antonio Gutierrez, MD, has no conflicts of interest to declare. Sunil V Rao, MD, FACC, FSCAI, is a consultant for sanofi-aventis, Bristol Myers Squibb, and The Medicines Company, and receives research funding from Cordis Corporation, Momenta Pharmaceuticals, and Portola Pharmaceuticals.
Antonio Gutierrez, MD, Box 31022/DUMC, Durham, NC 27710. E:
Received date
08 September 2008
Accepted date
18 November 2008
US Cardiology - Volume 6 Issue 1;2009:6(1):89-91
Antonio Gutierrez, MD, Box 31022/DUMC, Durham, NC 27710. E:
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