Transfusion-associated circulatory overload is the most frequent serious adverse transfusion reaction, with an incidence close to 1% of transfused patients in the general adult population. Patients in ICUs are probably more at risk of transfusion-associated circulatory overload as they are more frequently transfused and associated with more comorbidities. However, the epidemiology of transfusion-associated circulatory overload in ICU is not well characterized, leading to a risk of underdiagnosis.
We conducted a scoping review to describe the incidence, risk factors, and outcomes of transfusion-associated circulatory overload in PICU and adult ICU.
PubMed, Ovid Medline, Ovid All EBM Reviews, Ovid Embase, and EBSCO CINAHL COMPLETE.
Two reviewers independently screened each article for inclusion criteria. Studies were eligible if they reported data on incidence, risk factors, or outcomes of transfusion-associated circulatory overload in at least 10 ICU patients.
Among 5,926 studies identified, nine were included. Five studies were prospective, and four were retrospective. The definition of transfusion-associated circulatory overload varied among studies. The pooled incidence of transfusion-associated circulatory overload was of 5.5% (95% CI, 2.6–9.4%) in adult ICUs (four studies, 2,252 patients, high heterogeneity). In PICUs, two studies (345 patients) reported 0 cases, and a third study (136 patients) reported variable incidences between 1.5% and 76%, depending on diagnostic criteria. Risk factors for transfusion-associated circulatory overload included positive fluid balance, the number and type of products transfused, rate of transfusion, and cardiovascular and renal comorbidities. Transfusion-associated circulatory overload was associated with increased ICU and hospital lengths of stay, whereas the association with mortality was not consistent.
Transfusion-associated circulatory overload is frequent in ICU patients and is associated with adverse outcomes. The lack of a pediatric-adjusted definition of transfusion-associated circulatory overload may lead to a risk of underdiagnosis of this condition in PICUs. Further research is warranted to improve the knowledge of transfusion-associated circulatory overload and the safety of transfusion in ICU patients.