Public Release: 

Does having a blood transfusion before, during or after surgery increase the risk for a blood clot?

JAMA Surgery

Bottom Line: A transfusion of red blood cells before, during or after surgery was associated with an increased risk of blood clots for patients.

Why The Research Is Interesting: A blood clot that starts in a vein (venous thromboembolism or VTE) that is connected to time spent in a hospital is a major cause of illness and death. Studies have suggested red blood cell transfusions, which commonly occur when patients have surgery, may have a role in the development of blood clots.

Who and When: 750,937 patients who underwent a surgical procedure in 2014, of whom 47,410 received at least one red blood cell transfusion before, during or after surgery

What (Study Outcomes and Measures): Development of postoperative VTE within 30 days of surgery

How (Study Design): This was a registry study that used data from teaching and nonteaching hospitals in North America

Authors: Aaron A. R. Tobian, M.D., Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, and coauthors

Results: VTE occurred in 0.8 percent of patients; transfusion of red blood cells before, during or after surgery was associated with increased risk.

Study Limitations: Authors could not evaluate the variation in outcomes by the hospital-wide practices in VTE prevention and guidelines adherence.

To Learn More: The full study is available on the For The Media website.

(doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2018.1565)

Editor's Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

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