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23-07-2018 | Original Article | Uitgave 9/2018 Open Access

Netherlands Heart Journal 9/2018

Red blood cell transfusion in patients with ST-elevation myocardial infarction—a meta-analysis of more than 21,000 patients

Netherlands Heart Journal > Uitgave 9/2018
R. I. Mincu, T. Rassaf, M. Totzeck
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s12471-018-1137-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Red blood cell transfusion remains controversial in patients with acute coronary syndromes and particularly in patients with ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).


We systematically searched PubMed, Cochrane, EMBASE, and Web of Science for studies published until January 2017 describing the outcomes in patients with STEMI who received red blood cell transfusion, compared with patients who did not.


A total of 21,770 patients with STEMI from 5 cohort studies were included in the meta-analysis, 984 (4.5%) received red blood cell transfusion and 20,786 (95.4%) did not. Red blood cell transfusion was associated with a higher risk of in-hospital and long-term mortality, emergency repeated percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), reinfarction rate, stroke rate, and heart failure. The group with red blood cell transfusion had a slightly higher incidence of diabetes mellitus and hypertension, but a lower incidence of smoking. The two groups had the same incidence of prior myocardial infarction, prior coronary artery bypass graft surgery and malignancy. Prior heart failure, prior stroke and prior PCI were more frequent in the group that had received red blood cell transfusion. The mean nadir haemoglobin was 8.5 ± 0.1 g/dl in the group with red blood cell transfusion and 12.5 ± 0.4 g/dl in the control group, p < 0.001.


Red blood cell transfusion increases the morbidity and mortality in patients with STEMI. This difference could not be explained by the higher morbidity in the red blood cell transfusion group alone. Further randomised controlled trials are required to provide a reliable haemoglobin threshold for these patients.

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Netherlands Heart Journal

Het Netherlands Heart Journal wordt uitgegeven in samenwerking met de Nederlandse Vereniging voor Cardiologie en de Nederlandse Hartstichting. Het tijdschrift is Engelstalig en wordt gratis beschikbaa ...

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