Red blood cell storage duration and long‐term mortality in patients undergoing cardiac intervention: a Danish register study

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The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 108 million units of red blood cells (RBCs) are donated every year worldwide (WHO, 2015). The objective of RBC transfusion is to increase oxygen delivery and improve clinical outcomes in case of anaemia and/or blood loss.
During storage, RBCs undergo numerous metabolic changes, such as modified cation homeostasis, energy impairment, lactate accumulation and redox metabolism, which may negatively affect their oxygen delivery capacity and, hence, patient outcomes (Spinella et al., 2011; Aubron et al., 2013; D'Alessandro et al., 2015a; Orlov & Karkouti, 2015; Bordbar et al., 2016). Observational studies have assessed the association between RBC storage duration and patient outcomes with conflicting results. Recently, large randomised trials reported that transfusion of short‐term storage RBCs was not superior to transfusion of long‐term storage RBCs in a general hospital population, complex cardiac surgery and critically ill patients (Lacroix et al., 2015; Steiner et al., 2015; Heddle et al., 2016). The aim of this retrospective study was to study the effect of RBC storage duration on 30‐day and long‐term mortality in patients undergoing any kind of cardiac intervention, including cardiac catheterisation and/or cardiac surgery.
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