Appropriateness of red blood cell transfusion in Australasian intensive care practice

Craig J. French, Rinaldo Bellomo, Simon R. Finfer, Jeffery Lipman, Marianne Chapman, Neil W. Boyce, Donna Goldsmith, Felicity Hawker, Imogen Mitchell, Joy Whiting, Andrew Bersten, Tamara Hunt, Brent Richards, Mandy Tallot, Ross Freebairn, Jane Clarke, Margaret Dewse, Chris Joyce, Tony Limpus, Peter SharleyStephanie Creed, Bronwyn Couchman, Judith Perrott, Andrew Turner, Megan Robertson, Cathy Boyce, Andrew Marich, Geoff Dobb, Teresa Williams, Mary Pinder, Brigitte Roberts, John Myburgh, Kathyrn Girling, Anna Green, Sundaram Rachakonda, E. G. Simmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To determine the incidence and appropriateness of use of allogenic packed red blood cell (RBC) transfusion in Australian and New Zealand intensive care practice. Setting: Intensive care units of 18 Australian and New Zealand hospitals: March 2001. Design: Prospective, observational, multicentre study. Methods: All admissions to participating intensive care units were screened and all patients who received a transfusion of RBC were enrolled. The indications for transfusion were recorded and compared with Australian National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines. Transfusions conforming to these guidelines were deemed appropriate. Main outcome measures: RBC transfusion in intensive care and transfusion appropriateness. Results: 1808 admissions to intensive care units were screened: 357 (19.8%) admissions (350 patients) received an RBC transfusion while in intensive care. Overall, 1464 RBC units were administered in intensive care on 576 transfusion days. The most common indications for transfusion were acute bleeding (60.1%; 880/1464) and diminished physiological reserve (28.9%; 432/1464). The rate of inappropriate transfusion was 3.0% (44/1464). Diminished physiological reserve with haemogloblin level ≥ 100 g/L was the indication in 50% (22/44) of inappropriate transfusions; no indication was provided for 31% (15/44). Conclusion: The rate of inappropriate transfusion in Australian and New Zealand intensive care units in 2001 was remarkably low.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)548-551
Number of pages4
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2002
Externally publishedYes


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