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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Use of red blood cells in Danish intensive care units: A population-based register study

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BACKGROUND: Red blood cell (RBC) transfusion is common in the intensive care unit (ICU). Recent trials have shown that a restrictive transfusion strategy is safe in most patients, and recent guidelines recommend such a strategy in most ICU patients. It is unknown if this has translated into a change in clinical practice.

METHODS: We conducted a population-based register study of RBC transfusions in ICUs in the Danish Capital Region between 1st of January 2011 and 31st of December 2016 by linking data from the regional blood bank and the Danish Intensive Care Database. We used crude data and run- and control-charts to analyse changes in the number of RBC transfusions.

RESULTS: We included 27 835 ICU admissions of which 6936 received 40 889 RBC units. The crude use was 36.2 RBC units per one-hundred patient bed-days in 2011 vs 29.8 in 2016. The run-chart analysis did not confirm a change in the total use of RBC units in all ICUs combined, and we observed no change in the proportion of transfused patients or in the use of RBCs among transfused patients. Sensitivity analyses showed decreased use of RBC units in two general ICUs, and a reduced use of RBC units among medical ICU patients.

CONCLUSIONS: In this population-based register study, we did not with certainty observe changes over time in the use of RBC transfusions in all patients in all ICUs in the Danish Capital Region. A reduction in RBC use may have occurred in some general ICUs and in medical ICU patients.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica
ISSN0001-5172
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2019

ID: 58008167