Restrictive versus liberal blood transfusion for gastrointestinal bleeding: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials
The Lancet. Gastroenterology & Hepatology. 2017;2((5)):354-360.
BACKGROUND Acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding is a leading indication for red blood cell (RBC) transfusion worldwide, although optimal thresholds for transfusion are debated. METHODS We searched MEDLINE, Embase, CENTRAL, CINAHL, and the Transfusion Evidence Library from inception to Oct 20, 2016, for randomised controlled trials comparing restrictive and liberal RBC transfusion strategies for acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding. Main outcomes were mortality, rebleeding, ischaemic events, and mean RBC transfusion. We computed pooled estimates for each outcome by random effects meta-analysis, and individual participant data for a cluster randomised trial were re-analysed to facilitate meta-analysis. We compared treatment effects between patient subgroups, including patients with liver cirrhosis, patients with non-variceal upper gastrointestinal bleeding, and patients with ischaemic heart disease at baseline. FINDINGS We included four published and one unpublished randomised controlled trial, totalling 1965 participants. The number of RBC units transfused was lower in the restrictive transfusion group than in the liberal transfusion group (mean difference -1.73 units, 95% CI -2.36 to -1.11, p<0.0001). Restrictive transfusion was associated with lower risk of all-cause mortality (relative risk [RR] 0.65, 95% CI 0.44-0.97, p=0.03) and rebleeding overall (0.58, 0.40-0.84, p=0.004). We detected no difference in risk of ischaemic events. There were no statistically significant differences in the subgroups. INTERPRETATION These results support more widespread implementation of restrictive transfusion policies for adults with acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding. FUNDING None.
Restrictive vs liberal transfusion for upper gastrointestinal bleeding: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
World Journal of Gastroenterology. 2013;19((40):):6919-27.
AIM: To compare the outcome of upper gastrointestinal bleeding (UGIB) between patients receiving restrictive and liberal transfusion. METHODS PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library databases were employed to identify all relevant randomized controlled trials regarding the outcome of UGIB after restrictive or liberal transfusion. Primary outcomes were death and rebleeding. Secondary outcomes were length of hospitalization, amount of blood transfused, and hematocrit and hemoglobin at discharge or after expansion. RESULTS Overall, 4 papers were included in this meta-analysis. The incidence of death was significantly lower in patients receiving restrictive transfusion than those receiving liberal transfusion (OR: 0.52, 95%CI: 0.31-0.87, P = 0.01). The incidence of rebleeding was lower in patients receiving restrictive transfusion than those receiving liberal transfusion, but this difference did not reach any statistical significance (OR: 0.26, 95%CI: 0.03-2.10, P = 0.21). Compared with those receiving liberal transfusion, patients receiving restrictive transfusion had a significantly shorter length of hospitalization (standard mean difference: -0.17, 95%CI: -0.30--0.04, P = 0.009) and a significantly smaller amount of blood transfused (standard mean difference: -0.74, 95%CI: -1.15--0.32, P = 0.0005) with a lower hematocrit and hemoglobin level at discharge or after expansion. CONCLUSION Restrictive transfusion should be employed in patients with UGIB.
Red cell transfusion for the management of upper gastrointestinal haemorrhage
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2010;((9):):CD006613.
BACKGROUND Upper gastrointestinal haemorrhage affects 50 to 150 per 100,000 adults per year, with a high mortality. Red blood cell transfusions are frequently given, but their impact on rebleeding rates and mortality is unknown. OBJECTIVES To assess the effects of red blood cell (RBC) transfusion in adults with upper gastrointestinal haemorrhage. SEARCH STRATEGY For this update, we re-ran the initial search strategies from the last issue/month searched until March 2010.We previously searched the Cochrane Upper Gastrointestinal and Pancreatic Diseases Group Trials Register to February 2008, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library 2008, issue 1), MEDLINE (1950 to February 2008), EMBASE (1974 to February 2008), the Systematic Review Initiative database of randomised controlled trials (RCTs), haematology and gastroenterology conference proceedings, and reference lists of articles. SELECTION CRITERIA Randomised and quasi-randomised studies comparing RBC transfusion and standard care with other intravenous fluid and standard care regimens in haemodynamically stable and haemodynamically unstable adults with upper gastrointestinal haemorrhage. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS Two authors independently assessed trial quality and extracted data. We contacted study authors for additional information. MAIN RESULTS Three trials involving 126 patients were included, with complete data available for 93 patients. The participants were heterogeneous, none of the three studies examined exactly the same interventions or measured the same outcomes. Only two trials reported mortality data and the summary relative risk for mortality of the intervention was 5.4 (95% CI 0.27 to 107.09). One trial reported increased coagulation times in the transfused group, and reported these patients to have increased rates of rebleeding. None of the studies reported adverse events directly related to RBC transfusion. Methodological deficiencies, including allocation concealment, generation of random sequences and blinding, simply compound the uncertainty surrounding analysis. None of the studies were appropriately powered and in the largest study fewer than half the participants were included in the final analysis.One RCT of restrictive versus liberal RBC transfusion aims to recruit 860 patients but has yet to be completed. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS There were more deaths and more rebleeding in the transfusion arms of the combined studies, but the small numbers of participants and large volume of missing data limit the significance of the findings. The studies in this review do not provide useful data regarding outcomes following red blood cell transfusion for acute upper gastrointestinal haemorrhage. They appear to exclude large survival benefit. Large, well-concealed RCTs of sufficient power are urgently needed.