Nearly 95 percent of patients admitted to hospital intensive care units are affected by anemia. Consequently, these patients receive a large number of red blood cell (RBC) transfusions in order to restore proper hemoglobin levels. New research shows that alternative treatments may lead to fewer transfusions, conserving critical blood supplies in hospitals. The report is published in Seminars in Dialysis.

Phlebotomy, the removing of blood from the body, has been seen as a major factor contributing to anemia, but recent research shows that it may not be the primary cause. "There is now ample evidence suggesting that the anemia observed in the critically ill is an underproduction anemia, consistent with what is commonly referred to as the anemia of chronic inflammatory disease," says Howard L. Corwin, M.D., author of the report.

The expected benefit of RBC transfusions is an increased oxygen level, which prevents cellular injury. However, studies have not consistently demonstrated that the increased hemoglobin level with transfusion leads to improved tissue oxygenation. At this point in time, there are no convincing data to support the routine use of RBC transfusion to treat anemia in hemodynamically stable, critically ill patients without evidence of acute bleeding.

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This study is published in Seminars in Dialysis.

Seminars in Dialysis is a bimonthly publication focusing exclusively on cutting-edge clinical aspects of dialysis therapy. Besides publishing papers by the most respected names in the field of dialysis, the journal has unique, useful features, all designed to keep you current: dialysis clinic, dialysis rounds, hemodialysis citations, editorials, opinions, brief notes. For more information please visit blackwell-synergy/loi/sdi.

The American Society of Diagnostic and Interventional Nephrology was founded in 2000 to promote the proper application of new and existing procedures in the practice of nephrology with the goal of improving the care of nephrology patients. For more information visit asdin/ .

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Contact: Sean Wagner
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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