Research

Transfusion risk

A risk not well understood

Some physicians think blood transfusion could increase the heart’s oxygen supply for anemic heart attack patients, but a new study suggests that extensive transfusion could increase the risk of death or a second heart attack.

A new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine finds that while blood transfusions for heart attack patients with anemia are commonly performed in emergency rooms, the practice can increase the risk of death when the transfusions are too extensive. The authors, led by Saurav Chatterjee, a cardiology fellow at Brown University, compared evidence from 10 prior studies of more than 203,000 patients.