Postsurgery VTE linked to perioperative blood cell transfusions

Perioperative red blood cell transfusions may be significantly associated with the development of new or progressive venous thromboembolism in the month following surgery, according to a study in JAMA Surgery.

Researchers collected registry data from the American College of Surgery National Surgical Quality Improvement Program, which includes data from 525 teaching and nonteaching hospitals in North America. They studied patients in the registry who underwent a surgical procedure from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2014.

Of the 750,937 patients included in the study, 47,410 received at least one perioperative RBC transfusion. Postoperative VTE occurred in 6,309 patients.

Researchers found perioperative RBC transfusion was associated with higher odds of VTE, deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, independent of various putative risk factors.

The odds of developing VTE increased at an odds ratio of 2.1 for one transfusion event, 3.1 for two transfusion events and 4.5 for three or more events, as compared to no perioperative transfusion events.

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