Objectives: To determine the pattern of current red cell transfusion practices in an adult intensive care unit (ICU) in Trinidad and the impact of phlebotomy on transfusions.
Methods: A prospective observational study was conducted over a six-month period to include all patients who received transfusions in the ICU of Port-of-Spain General Hospital, Trinidad. Demographic data including age, gender and weight were recorded. Clinical data recorded were the admission APACHE II scores, daily phlebotomy volumes, haemoglobin levels, transfusions and outcome during the first thirty days following ICU admission. Patients were grouped according to diagnoses and transfusion patterns.
Results: Of 134 patients admitted, 40 (29.8%) were transfused packed red cells 18 (29%) of the requests were for single unit transfusion. The mean phlebotomy volume was 13.5 ± 4.3 (SD) mL day. The adjusted phlebotomy volume to body weight did not correlate with the amount of transfusions. The mean haemoglobin level for triggering blood transfusion was 6.73 g dL. The mean transfusion rate was 2.9 ± 1.8 (SD) units per patient. Ten per cent of the patients received more than 5 units. Twenty nine per cent of the units were transfused on the first day of ICU admission and 69% were transfused during the first week of ICU stay.
Conclusions: Transfusion practices in the study ICU pointed towards a restrictive strategy, although there were some inappropriate transfusions. The phlebotomy volumes did not contribute towards transfusion requirements.