Blood can save lives, but blood transfusions are also inherently dangerous. Remember: a blood transfusion is an organ transplant. A recent JAMA study showed that each unit of transfused blood increased patient mortality by 1.2%.1 The effect was dose dependent. Other studies have shown worse early, mid-term, and long-term outcomes related to transfusion. The most effective and safest blood management strategy is preserving the patient’s own blood. View blood transfusion as the option of last resort.
1. JAMA. 2010;304(14):1559-1567.
– Dean W. Joelson, M.D., Chemistry Consulting Pathologist at PAH