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September 25, 2002

Red Blood Cell Transfusions in Critically Ill Patients

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: University of Ottawa Centre for Transfusion Research, Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Health Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario.

JAMA. 2002;288(12):1525-1526. doi:10.1001/jama.288.12.1525

Transfusions of packed red blood cells (RBCs), a complex biological product prepared from donated blood, are unique in many respects when compared with other health interventions. Despite one of the worst epidemics in recent times being caused, in part, by transfusion of blood products in the 1980s, RBC transfusion remains an essential and frequently performed medical intervention. In the United States, 11.5 million units of blood were donated in 1997.1 Of all units donated yearly, it is estimated that 50% to 70% are transfused in the surgical setting.2-6