Transfusion-associated circulatory overload is characterized by hydrostatic pulmonary edema following blood transfusion. Restrictive transfusion practice may affect the occurrence and severity of transfusion-associated circulatory overload in critically ill patients. We sought to examine contemporary risk factors and outcomes for transfusion-associated circulatory overload.Design:
Four tertiary care hospitals.Patients:
We prospectively enrolled 200 patients with transfusion-associated circulatory overload identified by active surveillance and 405 controls matched by transfusion intensity.Interventions:
None.Measurements and Main Results:
Among 20,845 transfused patients who received 128,263 blood components from May 2015 until July 2016, transfusion-associated circulatory overload incidence was one case per 100 transfused patients. In addition to cardiovascular comorbidities, multivariable analysis identified the following independent predictors of transfusion-associated circulatory overload: acute kidney injury, emergency surgery, pretransfusion diuretic use, and plasma transfusion—the latter especially in females. Compared with matched controls, transfusion-associated circulatory overload cases were more likely to require mechanical ventilation (71% vs 49%; p < 0.001), experienced longer intensive care and hospital lengths of stay following transfusion, and had higher mortality (21% vs 11%; p = 0.02) even after adjustment for other potentially confounding variables.Conclusions:
Despite restrictive transfusion practice, transfusion-associated circulatory overload remains a frequent complication of transfusion and is an independent risk factor for in-hospital morbidity and mortality. In addition to cardiovascular and renal risk factors, plasma transfusion was associated with transfusion-associated circulatory overload after controlling for other covariates. Additional research is needed to examine the benefit of reduced erythrocyte or plasma exposure in patients at high risk for transfusion-associated circulatory overload.