RBC Transfusion Linked to Improved Survival After Intracerebral Hemorrhage


In patients with intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH)—a type of stroke caused by bleeding inside the brain—transfusion with red blood cells may improve the chances of survival, reports a study in the May issue of Neurosurgery, official journal of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health.

Packed red blood cell transfusions are sometimes used to treat anemia occurring after ICH. The new study, led by Dr. Kevin N. Sheth of University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore, suggests that patients who receive these transfusions are nearly three times more likely to survive.

Packed Red Blood Cell Transfusion Linked to Improved Survival After ICH
Intracerebral hemorrhage is the most devastating form of stroke—up to 40 percent of patients die within a month. It occurs when a ruptured blood vessel causes bleeding inside the brain. Many patients with ICH develop anemia: inadequate levels of red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body.

Dr. Sheth and colleagues previously found that ICH patients who develop anemia are at increased risk of death. In the current study, they sought to determine whether packed red blood cell transfusions to treat anemia lead to improved outcomes of ICH.

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