A pilot study of the possibility and the feasibility of haemoglobin dosing with red blood cells transfusion
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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Red blood cell concentrates (RBCs) are the major blood component transfused. Although the haemoglobin content is variable, the transfusion dose is prescribed as units of red cell concentrates. Thus, by chance, large volume patients may receive a low haemoglobin dose and low volume patients may be transfused with haemoglobin-rich RBCs. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether the haemoglobin increment (grams per litre) in the patient can be predicted from the haemoglobin dose (in grams) transfused, with and without correction for estimated blood volume. If this is true, it may be possible to achieve the predicted transfusion outcome by selecting RBCs for each patient. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Haemodynamically stable patients scheduled for day treatment with transfusion of RBCs were recorded. A total of 52 transfusions episodes, 27 for women and 25 for men, were recorded. Blood volumes were estimated, haemoglobin content in the RBCs was measured before transfusion, and pre- and post-transfusion haemoglobin concentrations were obtained. RESULTS: The haemoglobin content of the RBCs prepared for transfusion showed a wide range, varying from 38.7 g/unit to 69.0 g/unit. There were statistically significant correlations between haemoglobin concentration in the RBCs and haemoglobin increment in patients. CONCLUSION: Post-transfusion increment in circulating haemoglobin can be predicted from the haemoglobin content of transfused cells, but knowledge of the patient's blood volume improves the accuracy of prediction. It may be feasible to select the high haemoglobin content RBC for patients with largest blood volume and vice versa.
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