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Bridget M Kuehn

More conservative use of blood transfusions during cardiac surgery is safe for the kidneys, suggests results from the Transfusion Requirements in Cardiac Surgery-III (TRICS-III) trial presented at Kidney Week 2018 in San Diego, CA.

The 20 million cardiac surgeries done worldwide each year consume about 20% of the world’s blood supply, said Amit Garg, MD, PHD, nephrologist at the London Health Sciences Center in Ontario, Canada. Blood transfusions are often used during such surgeries to prevent hypoxia caused by low blood supply to the organs, particularly the kidneys, which are easily injured by low blood flow. But blood transfusions themselves can also cause kidney injury as well as other adverse effects. Safely reducing the number of transfusions needed for such surgeries would not only help conserve the blood supply and reduce health care costs, but also reduce adverse effects of the blood transfusion itself, he said. As a result, the National Institutes of Health Heart Lung and Blood Institute has made funding randomized trials of red cell blood cell transfusions a priority.