Guidelines for transfusion practice have had limited impact in altering physician transfusion behavior in patients undergoing cardiac operations. This may be due to a lack of consensus on the relative risks and benefits of blood in these patients who are anemic, limited access to timely data that are necessary on which to base transfusion decisions, the recognition that empiric hemoglobin/hematocrit thresholds are limited clinical indicators of the need for blood, or a combination of these. We present an overview of current transfusion and blood conservation practices in this setting, along with possible approaches to guide the decision-making process by coupling the use of transfusion algorithms with point of care testing to use more physiologic indicators of the need for blood transfusion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine