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Randomized Controlled Trial
, 379 (13), 1224-1233

Six-Month Outcomes After Restrictive or Liberal Transfusion for Cardiac Surgery

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Randomized Controlled Trial

Six-Month Outcomes After Restrictive or Liberal Transfusion for Cardiac Surgery

C David Mazer et al. N Engl J Med.

Abstract

Background: We reported previously that, in patients undergoing cardiac surgery who were at moderate-to-high risk for death, a restrictive transfusion strategy was noninferior to a liberal strategy with respect to the composite outcome of death from any cause, myocardial infarction, stroke, or new-onset renal failure with dialysis by hospital discharge or 28 days after surgery, whichever came first. We now report the clinical outcomes at 6 months after surgery.

Methods: We randomly assigned 5243 adults undergoing cardiac surgery to a restrictive red-cell transfusion strategy (transfusion if the hemoglobin concentration was <7.5 g per deciliter intraoperatively or postoperatively) or a liberal red-cell transfusion strategy (transfusion if the hemoglobin concentration was <9.5 g per deciliter intraoperatively or postoperatively when the patient was in the intensive care unit [ICU] or was <8.5 g per deciliter when the patient was in the non-ICU ward). The primary composite outcome was death from any cause, myocardial infarction, stroke, or new-onset renal failure with dialysis occurring within 6 months after the initial surgery. An expanded secondary composite outcome included all the components of the primary outcome as well as emergency department visit, hospital readmission, or coronary revascularization occurring within 6 months after the index surgery. The secondary outcomes included the individual components of the two composite outcomes.

Results: At 6 months after surgery, the primary composite outcome had occurred in 402 of 2317 patients (17.4%) in the restrictive-threshold group and in 402 of 2347 patients (17.1%) in the liberal-threshold group (absolute risk difference before rounding, 0.22 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI], -1.95 to 2.39; odds ratio, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.87 to 1.18; P=0.006 for noninferiority). Mortality was 6.2% in the restrictive-threshold group and 6.4% in the liberal-threshold group (odds ratio, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.75 to 1.21). There were no significant between-group differences in the secondary outcomes.

Conclusions: In patients undergoing cardiac surgery who were at moderate-to-high risk for death, a restrictive strategy for red-cell transfusion was noninferior to a liberal strategy with respect to the composite outcome of death from any cause, myocardial infarction, stroke, or new-onset renal failure with dialysis at 6 months after surgery. (Funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and others; TRICS III ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02042898 .).

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