Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Red Blood Cell Transfusions Could Increase Risk Of Heart Attack Or Stroke

Date:
November 28, 2007
Source:
University of Bristol
Summary:
Scientists have found that red blood cell transfusions given to people having heart surgery could increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. The study looked at the association between red blood cell transfusion and adverse outcomes in over 8,500 cardiac surgery patients over eight years.

Red blood cells. Scientists have found that red blood cell transfusions given to people having heart surgery could increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.
Credit: Janice Carr and CDC

Bristol scientists have found that red blood cell transfusions given to people having heart surgery could increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.

The study looked at the association between red blood cell transfusion and adverse outcomes in over 8,500 cardiac surgery patients over eight years.

The research found patients who received a red blood cell transfusion experienced a three-fold increase in complications arising from lack of oxygen to key organs -- such as in a heart attack or stroke. This is a finding at odds with the widely held belief that red cell transfusion improves delivery of oxygen to tissues.

The study, by scientists at the University of Bristol and the Bristol Heart Institute, showed that the risks associated with transfusion occurred regardless of the haemoglobin levels (the oxygen-carrying substance in red blood cells), age, or level of patient disability at the time of transfusion.

Professor Peter Weissberg, Medical Director at the BHF says: "Red blood cells carry oxygen around the body to supply vital organs. Not unreasonably therefore, heart surgeons have assumed that patients who have low red blood cell counts after surgery - as a result of blood loss during or shortly after surgery - would benefit from a 'top up' transfusion of donated red blood cells.

"This study shows the importance of putting such widespread beliefs to the test since it suggests that such transfusions may cause more problems than they solve. The results are a step towards making heart surgery even safer by flagging up an issue we can now address through research and improved transfusion guidelines."

As well as the human costs, the financial cost of giving transfusions and treating transfusion-related illnesses increased the overall cost of staying in hospital by over 40 per cent.

Gavin Murphy, Walport Consultant Senior Lecturer in Cardiac Surgery at the University of Bristol, who led the study said; "This study demonstrates the cost implications of our current transfusion practice. This is important, particularly in modern health systems where resources are finite, and should encourage the sort of research that will address the major health issues raised in the study."

In the UK over half of all heart surgery patients are given blood. However, only about 3 per cent of these transfusions are given because of life-threatening bleeding. The remainder are usually given on the basis of a low haemoglobin level, regardless of whether the patient has physical symptoms to suggest they need blood.

The researchers now intend to carry out a larger study to see if changing transfusion guidelines could improve patient outcomes. For the time being it is suggested that surgeons think twice before giving their patients a transfusion.

More research is needed to find out how red cell transfusions may affect immunity or tissue oxygenation to cause these harmful effects, and to determine how stored donor blood products may be made safer prior to transfusion.

This research was published in the November 27 issue of the journal Circulation. The research was funded by the British Heart Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bristol. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Bristol. "Red Blood Cell Transfusions Could Increase Risk Of Heart Attack Or Stroke." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 November 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071126201333.htm>.
University of Bristol. (2007, November 28). Red Blood Cell Transfusions Could Increase Risk Of Heart Attack Or Stroke. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071126201333.htm
University of Bristol. "Red Blood Cell Transfusions Could Increase Risk Of Heart Attack Or Stroke." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071126201333.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) Nine-month-old Wyatt Scott was born with a rare disorder called congenital trismus, which prevents him from opening his mouth. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins