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Cardiovascular Health Channel
Reported January 2, 2013

Blood Transfusions Risky for Heart Patients?

 

(Ivanhoe Newswire) – Blood transfusions, when new blood is pumped into a person’s body, are sometimes necessary in order to help certain patients survive and heal. In the case of a heart attack, it turns out that a blood transfusion could be a bad idea if the patient is anemic. 
 
Recently, researchers led by Dr. Sauray Chatterjee, a cardiology fellow at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University, discovered that large blood transfusions for heart attack patients with anemia increases their risk of death. 
 
These results were found by analyzing 10 studies with more than 203,000 fitting the description of the at risk population and had received a blood transfusion.
 
"In our case, though, we found that the effect was pretty consistently harmful across the spectrum of studies, spectrum of time, and spectrum of patients that were enrolled in the individual studies,” researcher Dr. Saurav Chatterjee was quoted as saying. 
 
It was also determined that the size of the blood transfusions also mattered in the patients’ risk of death. If the transfusion was large, the risk increased by 12 percent.
 
Doctors have known for a while that blood transfusions could pose problems for anemic heart attack patients, but no real evidence has been presented that the transfusions should be avoided in these cases. 
 
While transfusions are used to help provide more oxygen to the heart during a heart attack, the possible consequences may outweigh the benefits now that the concerns regarding this issue have been validated.
 
However, this does not mean that transfusions should be automatically discarded when helping heart attack patients with anemia just yet.
 
"Before a definitive trial is out there, we should be conservative, especially considering the high risk of harm," Dr. Chatterjee was quoted as saying. 
 
Source: Archives of Internal Medicine,  December 2012
 

 

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