Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, The James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, UK. Newcastle Clinical Trials Unit, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. Department of Anthropology, Durham University, Durham, UK. Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, The James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, UK. Electronic address: Enoch.Akowuah@nhs.net.
OBJECTIVE Long-term outcomes following surgical aortic valve replacement (AVR) are excellent. However, there is a significant early morbidity burden. Red cell transfusion is common in the perioperative period and deleterious effects of receiving a transfusion on early postoperative morbidity are well described in observational studies. This study aimed to assess the effect of transfusion on ischaemic or infective outcomes after
aortic valve replacement. METHODS Data from 270 patients enrolled in the Manubrium-limited ministernotomy versus conventional sternotomy for aortic valve replacement (MAVRIC) randomised controlled trial was used to create two cohorts, patients that received red cell transfusions following AVR and those that did not. Propensity score matching was performed to limit the effect of confounding variables. Strict transfusion thresholds were maintained, with patients receiving a transfusion if haemoglobin concentration fell below 80 g/L, or if significant bleeding or haemodynamic instability occurred. The primary outcome was a composite of ischaemic event (myocardial infarction, permanent stroke, gut ischaemia or acute kidney injury) or serious infection (sepsis, endocarditis, respiratory tract or wound infection). Patients were followed for 12 weeks following surgery. RESULTS Sixty-three (63) of 270 patients received a red cell transfusion (23.3%). Transfused patients had significantly lower body mass index (BMI), a higher proportion of females, a lower preoperative haemoglobin and haematocrit, a higher EuroSCORE II score, worse renal function and were more likely to have undergone urgent surgery compared to the unadjusted control cohort. Once matched, there was no difference in the primary outcome between cohorts. There was a significantly increased length of hospital stay in the transfused group (median 7 days transfused, median 5 days not-transfused, p=0.001). CONCLUSIONS Red cell transfusion, using a transfusion threshold of 80 g/L, does not appear to be associated with adverse ischaemic or infective outcomes after aortic valve replacement.