Concepts of blood transfusion in adults.
Goodnough LT., Levy JH., Murphy MF.
Recent progress has been made in the identification and implementation of best transfusion practices on the basis of evidence-based clinical trials, published clinical practice guidelines, and process improvements for blood use and clinical patient outcomes. However, substantial variability persists in transfusion outcomes for patients in some clinical settings--eg, patients undergoing cardiothoracic surgery. This variability could be the result of insufficient understanding of published guidelines; different recommendations of medical societies, including the specification of a haemoglobin concentration threshold to use as a transfusion trigger; the value of haemoglobin as a surrogate indicator for transfusion benefit, even though only changes in concentration and not absolute red cell mass of haemoglobin can be identified; and disagreement about the validity of the level 1 evidence for clinical practice guidelines. Nevertheless, institutional experience and national databases suggest that a restrictive blood transfusion approach is being increasingly implemented as best practice.