Patient Care

Post-Operative Transfusions after Noncardiac Surgery Associated with Increased Adverse Outcomes


Clinical question: Do transfusions affect post-operative outcomes after noncardiac surgery?

Background: Studies have demonstrated that a restrictive transfusion strategy is probably superior to a liberal transfusion strategy in many clinical settings. Despite this data, there continues to be wide variation in the use of blood transfusions in the peri-operative setting.

Study design: Retrospective cohort study.

Setting: Fifty-two community and academic hospitals in Michigan.

Synopsis: Demographic, operative, and outcomes data were extracted from the Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative and reviewed for 48,720 patients who underwent noncardiac surgery between 2012-2014. A total of 4.6% of patients received a blood transfusion within 72 hours after surgery. The patients who received blood products were at increased risk for death at 30 days (3.6% excess absolute risk), for infectious complications (1% excess absolute risk), and for having at least one post-operative noninfectious complication (4.4% increased absolute risk).

Bottom line: Although observational in nature, this study adds to the increasing body of evidence supporting an increase in surgical morbidity and mortality associated with blood transfusions.

Citation: Abdelsattar ZM, Hendren S, Wong SL, Campbell DA Jr, Henke P. Variation in transfusion practices and the effect on outcomes after noncardiac surgery. Ann Surg. 2015;262(1):1-6.

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