Clinical practice guideline: red blood cell transfusion in adult trauma and critical care

Crit Care Med. 2009 Dec;37(12):3124-57. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0b013e3181b39f1b.


Objective: To develop a clinical practice guideline for red blood cell transfusion in adult trauma and critical care.

Design: Meetings, teleconferences and electronic-based communication to achieve grading of the published evidence, discussion and consensus among the entire committee members.

Methods: This practice management guideline was developed by a joint taskforce of EAST (Eastern Association for Surgery of Trauma) and the American College of Critical Care Medicine (ACCM) of the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM). We performed a comprehensive literature review of the topic and graded the evidence using scientific assessment methods employed by the Canadian and U.S. Preventive Task Force (Grading of Evidence, Class I, II, III; Grading of Recommendations, Level I, II, III). A list of guideline recommendations was compiled by the members of the guidelines committees for the two societies. Following an extensive review process by external reviewers, the final guideline manuscript was reviewed and approved by the EAST Board of Directors, the Board of Regents of the ACCM and the Council of SCCM.

Results: Key recommendations are listed by category, including (A) Indications for RBC transfusion in the general critically ill patient; (B) RBC transfusion in sepsis; (C) RBC transfusion in patients at risk for or with acute lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome; (D) RBC transfusion in patients with neurologic injury and diseases; (E) RBC transfusion risks; (F) Alternatives to RBC transfusion; and (G) Strategies to reduce RBC transfusion.

Conclusions: Evidence-based recommendations regarding the use of RBC transfusion in adult trauma and critical care will provide important information to critical care practitioners.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Critical Care*
  • Critical Illness / therapy*
  • Erythrocyte Transfusion*
  • Humans
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy*