The impact of perioperative red blood cell transfusions in patients undergoing liver resection: a systematic review

Department of Surgery, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada; The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, ON, Canada; Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, ON, Canada; Department of Surgery, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA; Department of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada; Department of Anesthesiology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada; Department of Medicine, Centre hospitalier de l'Universite de Montreal, Montreal, QC, Canada; Department of Anesthesiology, Universite Laval, Quebec, QC, Canada; Department of Surgery, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada.

Hpb : the Official Journal of the International Hepato Pancreato Biliary Association. 2017;19((4):):321-330
BACKGROUND Liver resection is associated with a high proportion of red blood cell transfusions. There is a proposed association between perioperative transfusions and increased risk of complications and tumor recurrence. This study reviews the evidence of this association in the literature. METHODS The Medline, EMBASE, and Cochrane databases were searched for clinical trials or observational studies of patients undergoing liver resection that compared patients who did and did not receive a perioperative red blood cell transfusion. Outcomes were mortality, complications, and cancer survival. RESULTS Twenty-two studies involving 6832 patients were included. All studies were retrospective, with no clinical trials. No studies were scored as low risk of bias. The overall proportion of patients transfused was 38.3%. After multivariate analysis, 1 of 5 studies demonstrated an association between transfusion and increased mortality; 5 of 6 demonstrated an association between transfusion and increased complications; and 10 of 18 demonstrated an association between transfusion and decreased cancer survival. CONCLUSION This review supports the evidence linking perioperative blood transfusions to negative outcomes. The most convincing association was with post-operative complications, some association with long-term cancer outcomes, and no convincing association with mortality. These findings support the initiation, and further study, of restrictive transfusion protocols.
Study details
Study Design : Systematic Review
Language : English
Credits : Bibliographic data from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine