Anemia, which is prevalent in critically ill patients, often requires frequent blood transfusions. These blood transfusions are not without risks. A critical review of 6 studies shows an association between red blood cell transfusion and increased mortality. However, when disease state was adjusted for in 2 studies, researchers found that red blood cell transfusion correlated with decreased mortality. Thus further research, particularly on leukoreduction and age of stored blood, must be done before a change in practice can be implemented. It is vital that nurses stay current on this research in order to improve patients’ outcomes.
©2011 American Association of Critical-Care Nurses