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Open Access Highly Accessed Research

Red blood cell transfusion and outcomes in patients with acute lung injury, sepsis and shock

Elizabeth C Parsons1*, Catherine L Hough1, Christopher W Seymour2, Colin R Cooke3, Gordon D Rubenfeld4, Timothy R Watkins15 and the NHLBI ARDS Network

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of Washington, Harborview Medical Center, 325 Ninth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104, USA

2 Departments of Critical Care and Emergency Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, 3550 Terrace Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA

3 Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program, University of Michigan, 1150 West Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA

4 Program of Trauma, Critical Care and Emergency Medicine, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto, 2075 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, ON, M4N 3M5, Canada

5 Research Institute, Puget Sound Blood Center, 921 Terry Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104, USA

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Critical Care 2011, 15:R221  doi:10.1186/cc10458

Published: 21 September 2011

Abstract

Introduction

In this study, we sought to determine the association between red blood cell (RBC) transfusion and outcomes in patients with acute lung injury (ALI), sepsis and shock.

Methods

We performed a secondary analysis of new-onset ALI patients enrolled in the Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Network Fluid and Catheter Treatment Trial (2000 to 2005) who had a documented ALI risk factor of sepsis or pneumonia and met shock criteria (mean arterial pressure (MAP) < 60 mmHg or vasopressor use) within 24 hours of randomization. Using multivariable logistic regression, we examined the association between RBC transfusion and 28-day mortality after adjustment for age, sex, race, randomization arm and Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation III score. Secondary end points included 90-day mortality and ventilator-free days (VFDs). Finally, we examined these end points among the subset of subjects meeting prespecified transfusion criteria defined by five simultaneous indicators: hemoglobin < 10.2 g/dL, central or mixed venous oxygen saturation < 70%, central venous pressure ≥ 8 mmHg, MAP ≥ 65 mmHg, and vasopressor use.

Results

We identified 285 subjects with ALI, sepsis, shock and transfusion data. Of these, 85 also met the above prespecified transfusion criteria. Fifty-three (19%) of the two hundred eighty-five subjects with shock and twenty (24%) of the subset meeting the transfusion criteria received RBC transfusion within twenty-four hours of randomization. We found no independent association between RBC transfusion and 28-day mortality (odds ratio = 1.49, 95% CI (95% confidence interval) = 0.77 to 2.90; P = 0.23) or VFDs (mean difference = -0.35, 95% CI = -4.03 to 3.32; P = 0.85). Likewise, 90-day mortality and VFDs did not differ by transfusion status. Among the subset of patients meeting the transfusion criteria, we found no independent association between transfusion and mortality or VFDs.

Conclusions

In patients with new-onset ALI, sepsis and shock, we found no independent association between RBC transfusion and mortality or VFDs. The physiological criteria did not identify patients more likely to be transfused or to benefit from transfusion.

Keywords:
erythrocyte transfusion; respiratory distress syndrome; adult therapy; sepsis therapy; treatment outcome; intensive care unit; respiration; artificial