Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Fewer Red Cell Transfusions, More IV Iron?

ACEP Now - By Anton Helman - On July 15, 2016
"You might be surprised to learn that many of the patients who receive red cell transfusions in the emergency department don’t need them. A Canadian study looking at trends in transfusion practice in the emergency department found that about half of transfusions given were deemed unnecessary.
If we think of a blood transfusion as a “blood transplant” similar to an organ transplant, then the potential complications including transfusion-associated circulatory overload (TACO), transfusion-related lung injury (TRALI), and alloimmunization become, perhaps, a bit more understandable. When you give someone a blood transfusion, you’re changing the patient’s immune system for life. Red cell transfusions should not be thought of as a delivery system for iron! While IV iron has been used for years in hematology clinics across the country, the emergency medicine community has been largely unaware of this sensible alternative..."