The Institute for Patient Blood Management and Bloodless Medicine at the Englewood Hospital has considerable experience in managing patients with gastrointestinal bleeding who do not accept blood-derived products. We present our data and experience over the last 8 years in managing such patients.
There is paucity of data on management and outcomes of gastrointestinal bleeding in patients who do not accept blood-derived products.
We performed a retrospective study of patients from 2003 to 2011 presenting with gastrointestinal bleeding who do not accept blood-derived products. Inclusion criteria were either overt bleeding with a presenting hemoglobin (Hb) of <12 g/dL or a decrease in Hb of >1.5 g/dL.
Ninety-six patients who met the inclusion criteria were included. Forty-one upper and 48 lower gastrointestinal bleeding sources were identified. Mean Hb was 8.8 g/dL and mean nadir was 6.9 g/dL. Among 37 patients (80.5%) with Hb ≤6.0 g/dL, 30 (81%) survived. Four of 7 patients (57%) with a Hb <3 g/dL survived. The overall mortality rate was 10.4%. In unadjusted logistic regression models, age [1.06 (1.01-1.12 y)], admission to ICU [6.37(1.27-31.9)], and anticoagulation use [6.95 (1.57-30.6)] were associated with increased mortality. Initial Hb [0.68 (0.51-0.92)] and nadir Hb [0.48 (0.29-0.78)] inversely predicted mortality.
These results suggest that transfusion-free management of gastrointestinal hemorrhage can be effective with mortality comparable with the general population accepting medically indicated transfusion. Management of these patients is challenging and requires a dedicated multidisciplinary team approach knowledgeable in techniques of blood conservation.
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