An acceptable strategy for transfusion of burn patients has not been specifically identified. In 1999, we empirically adopted a hemoglobin (Hb) transfusion trigger of 7.0 g/dl or greater in our burn center. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of this restrictive transfusion strategy. Retrospective comparison of adults with 20% or greater TBSA treated from 1999 to 2004 (restrictive group; REST) with patients treated before our adoption of the restrictive transfusion strategy (1997-1998: liberal group; LIB). The REST group (n = 135, age 42 +/- 17 years, %TBSA burn 37 +/- 14, and 26% incidence of inhalation injury) did not differ significantly from the LIB group (n = 37, age 42 +/- 16 years, %TBSA burn 38 +/- 17, and 35% inhalation injury). The Hb triggering a transfusion was 7.1 +/- 1.2 g/dl in the REST group, compared with 9.2 +/- 2.1 g/dl in the LIB group (P < .001). The REST group received significantly fewer units of blood per day than the LIB Group. Patients in the REST group appeared to have significantly better organ function, and there were no differences between the groups in the incidence of acute myocardial infarction. Mortality at 30 days was significantly lower in the REST group (19% vs 38%; P = .03), as was overall in-hospital mortality (22% vs 46%; P = .003). Transfusion restriction appears to be safe and resulted in fewer transfusions among this group of burn patients. Prospective studies are needed before broadly recommending a transfusion trigger of 7.0 g/dl.