• Article

Demographic and epidemiologic characterization of transfusion recipients from four US regions


Karafin, M. S., Bruhn, R., Westlake, M., Sullivan, M. T., Bialkowski, W., Edgren, G., ... Natl Heart Lung Blood Inst (2017). Demographic and epidemiologic characterization of transfusion recipients from four US regions: Evidence from the REDS-III recipient database. Transfusion, 57(12), 2903-2913. DOI: 10.1111/trf.14370


BACKGROUND: Blood transfusion is one of the most common medical procedures during hospitalization in the United States. To understand the benefits of transfusion while mitigating potential risks, a multicenter database containing detailed information on transfusion incidence and recipient outcomes would facilitate research.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: The Recipient Epidemiology and Donor Evaluation Study-III (REDS-III) program has developed a comprehensive transfusion recipient database utilizing data from hospital electronic health records at 12 participating hospitals in four geographic regions. Inpatient and outpatient data on transfusion recipients from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2014 included patient age, sex, ethnicity, primary diagnosis, type of blood product provided, issue location, pretransfusion and post-transfusion hemoglobin (Hgb), and hospital outcomes. Transfusion incidence per encounter was calculated by blood product and various patient characteristics.

RESULTS: During the 2-year study period, 80,362 (12.5%) inpatient encounters involved transfusion. Among inpatients, the most commonly transfused blood products were red blood cells (RBCs; 10.9% of encounters), followed by platelets (3.2%) and plasma (2.9%). Among patients who received transfusions, the median number of RBC units was one, the pretransfusion Hgb level was 7.6 g/dL, and the Hgb increment per unit was 1.4 g/dL. Encounter mortality increased with patient age, the number of units transfused, and the use of platelet or plasma products. The most commonly reported transfusion reaction was febrile nonhemolytic.

CONCLUSION: The database contains comprehensive data regarding transfusion use and patient outcomes. The current report describes an evaluation of the first 2 years of a planned, 4-year, linked blood donor-component-recipient database, which represents a critical new resource for transfusion medicine researchers.