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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Epidemiology of chronic red-cell transfusion recipients in Sweden and Denmark-a 10 year follow-up study

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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Chronic red-cell transfusions may be an indispensable part of patient treatment and may require early intervention to avoid adverse transfusion effects. The population of chronic transfusion recipients including common diagnoses and survival remains poorly characterised. Thus, the objective was to examine the complete range of chronic transfusion recipients, including demographic and patient characteristics and survival.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: All patients who received their first transfusion in Sweden or Denmark from January 1, 2002 to December 31, 2010 were followed up for subsequent transfusion episodes until December 31, 2012. Data on patient characteristics at time of the first and subsequent transfusions were retrieved from the national registers. We estimated the proportion of transfused patients who experienced 20 or more red-cell transfusion episodes (with an episode defined as all transfusions received 4 days or less apart) and characterised this patient population with respect to diagnoses, demographics and survival.

RESULTS: Among 893 117 first time red-cell transfusion recipients, 6157 (0·7%) experienced 20 or more episodes in total. The most common diagnoses among these patients were haematologic malignancies followed by non-haematologic malignancies and non-malignant blood and immune system related diseases. On average, chronically transfused patients had a median survival of less than 1 year following their 20th transfusion episode.

CONCLUSION: This study provides an overview of patient characteristics related to repeat red-cell transfusions and of the amount of red-cell transfusion episodes administered during a 10-year period in two countries. Patients who become chronically transfused suffer from diseases with poor prognosis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalVox Sanguinis
Pages (from-to)770-778
Number of pages9
ISSN0042-9007
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2018

ID: 55401649