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Research Letter
October 20, 2015

Red Blood Cell Concentrate Storage and Survival After Cardiac Surgery

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Anesthesiology, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2Department of Emergency Medicine, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 3Department of Epidemiology Research, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 4Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
JAMA. 2015;314(15):1641-1643. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.8690

Blood undergoes several physiological changes during storage. Observational studies have suggested that transfusion of stored red blood cell (RBC) concentrates may be harmful1; however, the results are inconsistent.2 We performed a nationwide cohort study of RBC storage and adverse outcomes after cardiac surgery.

We identified all patients who underwent coronary artery bypass graft surgery, heart valve surgery, or both between 1997 and 2012 from the SWEDEHEART register, which records information on patients who undergo heart surgery in Sweden.3 Transfusion data were obtained from the SCANDAT2 database, a nationwide register of blood transfusions.4 Linkage with national health data registers provided vital status and adverse outcomes.