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.

Related Articles


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 November 27, 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 November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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