Postoperative Transfusion Guidelines in Aneurysmal Cerebral Subarachnoid Hemorrhage: A Systematic Review and Critical Summary of Available Evidence
World Neurosurgery. 2022;158:234-243.e5
OBJECTIVE Surgical management of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) often involves red blood cell (RBC) transfusion, which increases the risk of postoperative complications. RBC transfusion guidelines report on chronically critically ill patients and may not apply to patients with SAH. Our study aims to synthesize the evidence to recommend RBC transfusion thresholds among adult patients with SAH undergoing surgery. METHODS A systematic review was conducted using PubMed, Google Scholar, and Web of Science electronic databases according to the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines to critically assess primary articles discussing RBC transfusion thresholds and describe complications secondary to RBC transfusion in adult patients with SAH in the perioperative period. RESULTS Sixteen articles meeting our search strategy were reviewed. Patients with SAH who received blood transfusion were older, female, had World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies grade IV-V and modified Fisher grade 3-4 scores, and presented with more comorbidities such as hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases. In addition, transfusion was associated with multiple postoperative complications, including higher rates of vasospasms, surgical site infections, cardiovascular and respiratory complications, increased postoperative length of stay, and 30-day mortality. Analysis of transfused patients showed that a higher hemoglobin (>10 g/dL) goal after SAH was safe and that patients may benefit from a higher whole hospital stay hemoglobin nadir, as shown by a reduction in risk of cerebral vasospasm and improvement in clinical outcomes (level B class II). CONCLUSIONS Among patients with SAH, the benefits of reducing cerebral ischemia and anemia are shown to outweigh the risks of transfusion-related complications.
Red blood cell transfusion and mortality effect in aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage: a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol
Systems Review. 2015;4((1)):41.
BACKGROUND Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) is a devastating disease that leads to important morbidity and mortality in a young patient population. Anemia following aSAH is common and may be exacerbated by the treatments instituted by clinicians as part of standard care. The role and optimal thresholds for red blood cell (RBC) transfusion in this patient population remains unknown. METHODS/DESIGN We will conduct a systematic review of the literature using MEDLINE, EMBASE, and EBM Reviews (including Cochrane Central databases) using a comprehensive search strategy for observational and interventional studies of RBC transfusion in aSAH. Our primary objective is to evaluate the association of RBC transfusion with mortality in aSAH patients. Secondary objectives include a) determining associations between RBC transfusion and poor neurologic outcome, b) defining an optimal RBC transfusion threshold in aSAH patients, and c) describing complications associated with RBC transfusion in aSAH patients. We plan a descriptive reporting of all included citations including study characteristics, methodological quality, and reported outcomes. Clinical and statistical heterogeneity observed between studies will be described. If appropriate, meta-analyses of suitable studies and interpretation of their results will be performed. Effect measures will be converted to obtain relative risks and odds ratios (RR and ORs) with 95% confidence intervals and pooled according to study design (randomized trials and observational studies respectively) using a random effects model. DISCUSSION This review will summarize the existing observational and trial evidence regarding RBC transfusion in aSAH patients. The analytical plan has made considerations for different study designs, both observational and interventional in nature, and will summarize the best available evidence to inform the end user and policy and guideline producers and to highlight areas in need of further study. SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION PROSPERO CRD42014014806.
Anemia and transfusion after subarachnoid hemorrhage
Neurocritical Care. 2011;15((2):):342-53.
Delayed cerebral ischemia after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) may be affected by a number of factors, including cerebral blood flow and oxygen delivery. Anemia affects about half of patients with SAH and is associated with worse outcome. Anemia also may contribute to the development of or exacerbate delayed cerebral ischemia. This review was designed to examine the prevalence and impact of anemia in patients with SAH and to evaluate the effects of transfusion. A literature search was made to identify original research on anemia and transfusion in SAH patients. A total of 27 articles were identified that addressed the effects of red blood cell transfusion (RBCT) on brain physiology, anemia in SAH, and clinical management with RBCT or erythropoietin. Most studies provided retrospectively analyzed data of very low-quality according to the GRADE criteria. While RBCT can have beneficial effects on brain physiology, RBCT may be associated with medical complications, infection, vasospasm, and poor outcome after SAH. The effects may vary with disease severity or the presence of vasospasm, but it remains unclear whether RBCTs are a marker of disease severity or a cause of worse outcome. Erythropoietin data are limited. The literature review further suggests that the results of the Transfusion Requirements in Critical Care Trial and subsequent observational studies on RBCT in general critical care do not apply to SAH patients and that randomized trials to address the role of RBCT in SAH are required.