Patients who receive blood transfusions after heart surgery are more likely to die from infections, according to new research.
The study looked at 9,218 American patients who received heart bypass surgery. Those who received blood transfusions were give times more likely to die within 100 days of their operation than those who did not, even when factors such as the urgency of the operation were adjusted for.
Previous research has shown that recipients of blood transfusions are more likely to have post-surgical infections.
The authors say this solves the mystery of why women are more likely to die after heart bypass surgery than men: women receive more transfusions because they tend to have lower haemoglobin concentrations.
American Heart Journal 2006; 152:1028-1034