Blood transfusions may be associated with risks and the risk: benefit ratio is not always clear, even in the setting of haemorrhage.
To describe the management practices and outcomes in women with profound anaemia who refused blood transfusion.
Materials and Methods
Retrospective analysis over a 10‐year time frame of severely anaemic women (Hb <50 g/L) with benign conditions who had requested not to receive a blood transfusion. Demographic data, clinical presentation, anaemia management practice and serious adverse events were collected from the medical record charts. Women were analysed in two groups: a gynaecologic (Gyn) and an obstetric (Ob) population. Results A total of 19 women (12 Gyn and 7 Ob) met the inclusion criteria with a mean age of 35.8 ± 10.2 years. The lowest mean Hb concentration was 41.3 ± 9.7 g/L (Gyn Group) and 36.0 ± 8.9 g/L (Ob Group) which increased, to 67.3 ± 14.3 g/L and 73.1 ± 6.9 g/L, respectively, by the time of hospital discharge. Anaemia management initially addressed the underlying etiology and was followed by intravenous iron (all cases) plus erythropoiesis stimulating agents, haemocoagulase and/or fluids. The mean length of hospital stay was 10.5 ± 4.4 and 13.7 ± 4.1 days for the Gyn and Ob groups, respectively. No deaths or other serious complications occurred. Conclusion These findings suggest that young and otherwise healthy women can tolerate profound anaemia (Hb <50 g/L) permitting corrective strategies to be successfully implemented without the need for blood transfusion.