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Lookup NU author(s): Dr Stephen Wright,
Dr Christopher Snowden,
Dr Jonathan Wallis
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Background. Cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) is used to risk-stratify patients undergoing major elective surgery, with a poor exercise capacity being associated with an increased risk of complications and death. Patients with anaemia have a decreased exercise capacity and an increased risk of morbidity and mortality after major surgery. Blood transfusion is often used to correct anaemia in the perioperative period but the effect of this intervention on exercise capacity is not well described. We sought to measure the effect of blood transfusion on exercise capacity measured objectively with CPET.Methods. Patients with stable haematological conditions requiring blood transfusion underwent CPET before and 2-6 days after transfusion.Results. Twenty patients were enrolled and completed both pre- and post-transfusion tests. The mean (so) haemoglobin (Hb) concentration increased from 8.3 (1.2) to 11.2 (1.4) g dl(-1) after transfusion of a median (range) of 3 (1-4) units of packed red cells. The anaerobic threshold increased from a mean (SD) of 10.4 (2.4) to 11.6 (2.5) ml kg(-1) min(-1) (P=0.018), a mean difference of 1.2 ml kg(-1) min(-1) (95% confidence interval (CI)=0.2-2.2). When corrected for the change in Hb concentration, the anaerobic threshold increased by a mean (so) of 0.39 (0.74) ml kg(-1) min(-1) per g dl(-1) Hb.Conclusions. Transfusion of allogeneic packed red cells in anaemic adults led to a significant increase in their capacity to exercise. This increase was seen in the anaerobic threshold, and other CPET variables.
Author(s): Wright SE, Pearce B, Snowden CP, Anderson H, Wallis JP
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: British Journal of Anaesthesia
Print publication date: 28/03/2014
ISSN (print): 0007-0912
ISSN (electronic): 1471-6771
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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