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Perfusion NewswireBlood ManagementLong-term Impact of Perioperative Red Blood Cell Transfusion on Patients Undergoing Cardiac Surgery

Long-term Impact of Perioperative Red Blood Cell Transfusion on Patients Undergoing Cardiac Surgery


There is a known association between need for transfusion and short-term outcomes in patients undergoing cardiac surgery. However long-term data are lacking in the contemporary literature.


All patients who underwent open cardiac surgery from 2010 to 2018 were included, except those undergoing transplant, with a ventricular-assist device, and requiring circulatory arrest. Primary outcome included short- and long-term mortality. Secondary outcomes included postoperative complications and hospital readmissions.


The total patient population included 14,281 patients with a median follow-up of 4.03 years (range, 2.25-6.1). Outcomes were stratified into patients with (n = 6239) or without (n = 8042) packed red blood cell (PRBC) use. Patients with PRBC transfusions had significantly (P < .001) worse postoperative outcomes compared with those without PRBC use, including higher operative mortality (6.89% vs 0.98%), return to the operating room (17.8% vs 1.61%), pneumonia (7.84% vs 0.98%), stroke (3.22% vs 1.51%), sepsis (2.66% vs 0.20%), renal failure (8.42% vs 1.12%), and dialysis (5.74% vs 0.42%). On multivariate analysis PRBC transfusion was an independent predictor of mortality (hazard ratio [[HR], 2.39; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.08-2.64; P < .001) and hospital readmission (HR, 1.15; 95% CI, 1.09-1.21; P < .001). Total units of PRBCs were directly associated with mortality (HR, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.08-1.09; P < .001) and hospital readmissions (HR, 1.02; 95% CI, 1.01-1.03; P < .005).


Patients with perioperative PRBC transfusions have increased operative and long-term mortality and hospital readmissions. Total units of PRBCs transfused were directly associated with mortality and readmissions.

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