Saturday, July 19, 2014

Transfusion thresholds and the risk of hospital associated infections

Interesting findings from a recent meta-analysis:

Data Extraction and Synthesis Twenty-one randomized trials with 8735 patients met eligibility criteria, of which 18 trials (n = 7593 patients) contained sufficient information for meta-analyses…
Results The pooled risk of all serious infections was 11.8% (95% CI, 7.0%-16.7%) in the restrictive group and 16.9% (95% CI, 8.9%-25.4%) in the liberal group. The risk ratio (RR) for the association between transfusion strategies and serious infection was 0.82 (95% CI, 0.72-0.95) with little heterogeneity (I2 = 0%; τ2 less than .0001). The number needed to treat (NNT) with restrictive strategies to prevent serious infection was 38 (95% CI, 24-122). The risk of infection remained reduced with a restrictive strategy, even with leukocyte reduction (RR, 0.80 [95% CI, 0.67-0.95]). For trials with a restrictive hemoglobin threshold of less than 7.0 g/dL, the RR was 0.82 (95% CI, 0.70-0.97) with NNT of 20 (95% CI, 12-133). With stratification by patient type, the RR was 0.70 (95% CI, 0.54-0.91) in patients undergoing orthopedic surgery and 0.51 (95% CI, 0.28-0.95) in patients presenting with sepsis. There were no significant differences in the incidence of infection by RBC threshold for patients with cardiac disease, the critically ill, those with acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding, or for infants with low birth weight.
Conclusions and Relevance Among hospitalized patients, a restrictive RBC transfusion strategy was associated with a reduced risk of health care–associated infection compared with a liberal transfusion strategy.

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