Canadian Journal of Anaesthesia

, Volume 52, Issue 6, pp 581–590 | Cite as

Transfusion rates vary significantly amongst Canadian medical centres

  • Brian Hutton
  • Dean Fergusson
  • Alan Tinmouth
  • Lauralyn McIntyre
  • Andrew Kmetic
  • Paul C. Hébert
General Anesthesia



To document variation of transfusion practice following repair of hip fracture or cardiac surgery, as well as those requiring intensive care following a surgical intervention or multiple trauma (high risk patients).


We documented rates of allogeneic red cell transfusion in 41,568 patients admitted to 11 hospitals across Canada between August 1998 and August 2000 as part of a retrospective observational cohort study. In the subgroup of 7,552 patients receiving red cells, we also compared mean nadir hemoglobin concentrations from centre to centre.


The overall rate of red cell transfusion was 38.7%, and ranged from 23.8% to 51.9% across centres among the 41,568 perioperative and critically ill patients. Women were more likely to be transfused (43.7%vs 35.3%,P < 0.0001), with higher rates of transfusion in eight of 11 centres. Compared to a chosen reference hospital having a crude transfusion rate near the median, the adjusted odds of transfusion ranged from 0.44 to 1.53 overall, from 0.42 to 1.22 in patients undergoing a hip fracture repair, from 0.72 to 3.17 in cardiac surgical patients undergoing cardiac surgery, and from 0.27 to 1.11 in critically ill and trauma patients. In the 7,552 transfused patients, the mean adjusted nadir hemoglobin was 74.0 ± 4.83 g·L-1 overall, and ranged from 66.9 ± 1.7 g·L-1 to 84.5 ± 1.6 g·L-1 across centres. Similar differences among centres were observed amongst hip fracture patients (71.2 ± 2.9 g·L-1 to 82.8 ± 1.7 g·L-1), cardiac surgical patients (65.7 ± 1.1 g·L-1 to 77.3 ± 1.0 g·L-1) and critically ill and trauma patients (66.1 ± 3.04 g·L-1 to 87.5 ± 2.5 g·L-1).


We noted significant differences in the rates of red cell transfusion and nadir hemoglobin concentrations in various surgical and critical care settings.

Les taux de transfusion varient de façon significative dans les centres médicaux canadiens



Documenter les variations dans la pratique des transfusions à la suite d’une réparation de fracture de la hanche ou d’une intervention chirurgicale cardiaque, de même que des transfusions chez des patients de soins intensifs à la suite d’une intervention chirurgicale ou d’un polytraumatisme (patients à haut risque).


Nous avons vérifié les taux de transfusion allogéniques chez 41 568 patients admis dans 11 hôpitaux canadiens entre août 1998 et août 2000 dans le cadre d’une étude rétrospective de cohorte par observation. Dans le sous-groupe de 7 552 patients transfusés, nous avons aussi comparé la moyenne des concentrations d’hémoglobine minimales d’un centre à l’autre.


Le taux global de transfusion de culots globulaires a été de 38,7 %, allant de 23,8 % à 51,9 % entre les centres parmi les 41 568 patients périopératoires et les grands malades. Les femmes étaient plus souvent transfusées (43,7 % vs 35,3 %,P < 0,0001), selon des taux plus élevés dans 8 centres sur 11. Comparées à celles d’un hôpital de référence choisi ayant un taux précis de transfusion près de la médiane, les probabilités de transfusion ajustées allaient de 0,44 à 1,53 globalement, de 0,42 à 1,22 chez les opérés à la hanche, de 0,72 à 3,17 chez les patients de cardiochirurgie et de 0,27 à 1,11 chez les grands malades et les polytraumatisés. Chez les 7 552 patients transfusés, la concentration minimale d’hémoglobine ajustée était de 74,0 ± 4,83 g·L-1 globalement et de 66,9 ± 1,7 g·L-1 à 84,5 ± 1,6 g·L-1 entre les centres. Des différences similaires ont été observées dans les centres parmi les patients avec fracture de la hanche (71,2 ± 2,9 g·L-1 à 82,8 ± 1,7 g·L-1), les patients de cardiochirurgie (65,7 ± 1,1 g·L-1 à 77,3 ± 1,0 g·L-1) et les grands malades et les polytraumatisés (66,1 ± 3,04 g·L-1 à 87,5 ± 2,5 g·L-1).


Les taux de transfusion de culots globulaires et les concentrations minimales d’hémoglobine diffèrent significativement en fonction de divers soins chirurgicaux et intensifs.


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Copyright information

© Canadian Anesthesiologists 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian Hutton
    • 1
    • 2
  • Dean Fergusson
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Alan Tinmouth
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Lauralyn McIntyre
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Andrew Kmetic
    • 1
    • 2
  • Paul C. Hébert
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Clinical Epidemiology ProgramOttawa Health Research InstituteOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Centre for Transfusion ResearchOttawa Hospital, General CampusOttawaCanada
  3. 3.University of Ottawa, Faculty of MedicineOttawaCanada
  4. 4.Canadian Blood ServicesOttawaCanada

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