Transfusion of red blood cells (RBC) in patients undergoing major elective cranial surgery is associated with increased morbidity, mortality and prolonged hospital length of stay (LOS). This retrospective single center study aims to identify the clinical outcome of RBC transfusions on skull base and non-skull base meningioma patients including the identification of risk factors for RBC transfusion. Between October 2009 and October 2016, 423 patients underwent primary meningioma resection. Of these, 68 (16.1%) received RBC transfusion and 355 (83.9%) did not receive RBC units. Preoperative anaemia rate was significantly higher in transfused patients (17.7%) compared to patients without RBC transfusion (6.2%; p = 0.0015). In transfused patients, postoperative complications as well as hospital LOS was significantly higher (p < 0.0001) compared to non-transfused patients. After multivariate analyses, risk factors for RBC transfusion were preoperative American Society of Anaesthesiologists (ASA) physical status score (p = 0.0247), tumor size (p = 0.0006), surgical time (p = 0.0018) and intraoperative blood loss (p < 0.0001). Kaplan-Meier curves revealed significant influence on overall survival by preoperative anaemia, RBC transfusion, smoking, cardiovascular disease, preoperative KPS ≤ 60% and age (elderly ≥ 75 years). We concluded that blood loss due to large tumors or localization near large vessels are the main triggers for RBC transfusion in meningioma patients paired with a potential preselection that masks the effect of preoperative anaemia in multivariate analysis. Further studies evaluating the impact of preoperative anaemia management for reduction of RBC transfusion are needed to improve the clinical outcome of meningioma patients.
Keywords: anaemia; meningioma; red blood cells; transfusion.