Red cell transfusion thresholds in outpatients with myelodysplastic syndromes: Results of a pilot randomized trial RBC‐ENHANCE Journal Articles uri icon

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  • AbstractBackgroundThe optimal hemoglobin (Hb) threshold for red blood cell transfusions in adult patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) has not been defined.Study Design and MethodsWe conducted a pilot randomized multi‐center study of two transfusion algorithms (liberal, to maintain Hb 110–120 g/L, transfuse 2 units if Hb < 105 g/L and 1 unit if Hb 105–110 g/L vs. restrictive, 85–105 g/L, transfuse 2 units when Hgb < 85 g/L). Primary objectives were 70% compliance in maintaining the q2 week hemoglobin within the targeted range and the achievement of a 15 g/L difference in pre‐transfusion Hb. Secondary outcomes included measures of quality of life (QOL), iron studies and safety.ResultsTwenty‐eight patients were randomized between February 2015–2020, 13 to the restrictive arm and 15 to the liberal arm in three tertiary care centers. The compliance was 66% and 45% and the mean pre‐transfusion Hb thresholds were 86 (standard deviation [SD] 8) and 98 g/L (SD 10) in the restrictive and liberal arms, (mean difference 11.8 g/L, p < .0001), respectively. Patients in the liberal arm experienced a mean of 3.4 (SD 2.6) more transfusion visits and received a mean of 5.3 (SD 5.5) more units of blood during the 12‐week study. Ferritin increased by 1043 (SD 1516) IU/L and 148 (SD 1319) IU/L in the liberal and restrictive arms, respectively. Selected QOL scores were superior pre‐transfusion and more patients achieved clinically important improvements in the liberal arm compared with the restrictive arm for selected symptoms and function domains.ConclusionThe results establish that policies for transfusion support can be delivered in practice at multiple hospitals, but further research is required to understand the full clinical effects and safety of liberal transfusion policies in MDS outpatients.


  • Buckstein, Rena
  • Callum, Jeannie
  • Prica, Anca
  • Bowen, David
  • Wells, Richard A
  • Leber, Brian
  • Heddle, Nancy
  • Chodirker, Lisa
  • Cheung, Matthew
  • Mozessohn, Lee
  • Yee, Karen
  • Gallagher, Jennifer
  • Parmentier, Anne
  • Jamula, Erin
  • Zhang, Liying
  • Mamedov, Alex
  • Stanworth, Simon J
  • Lin, Yulia

publication date

  • February 2024