To determine whether critically ill patients who receive allogenic packed red blood cell transfusions are at increased risk of developing nosocomial infections during hospitalization.
Retrospective database study utilizing Project IMPACT.
A 40-bed medical-surgical-trauma intensive care unit in an 825-bed tertiary referral teaching hospital.
One thousand seven hundred and seventeen patients admitted to the medical-surgical-trauma intensive care unit.
Measurements and Main Results
Data were collected by using the Project IMPACT database. Nosocomial infection rates were compared among three groups: the entire cohort, the transfusion group, and the nontransfusion group. We determined the nosocomial infection rates in these groups while adjusting for probability of survival by using Mortality Prediction Model (MPM-0) scores, age, gender, and number of units of packed red blood cells transfused. The average number of units transfused per patient was 4.0. The nosocomial infection rate for the entire cohort was 5.94%. The nosocomial infection rates for the transfusion group (n = 416) and the nontransfusion group (n = 1301) were 15.38% and 2.92%, respectively (p < .005 chi-square). Transfusion of packed red blood cells was related to the occurrence of nosocomial infection, and there was a dose-response pattern (the more units of packed red blood cells transfused, the greater the chance of nosocomial infection;p < 0.0001 chi-square). The transfusion group was six times more likely to develop nosocomial infection compared with the nontransfusion group. In addition, for each unit of packed red blood cells transfused, the odds of developing nosocomial infection were increased by a factor of 1.5. A subgroup analysis of nosocomial infection rates adjusted for probability of survival by using MPM-0 scores showed nosocomial infection to occur at consistently higher rates in transfused patients vs. nontransfused patients. A second subgroup analysis adjusted for patient age showed a statistically significant increase in rates of nosocomial infection for transfused patients regardless of age.
Transfusion of packed red blood cells is associated with nosocomial infection. This association continues to exist when adjusted for probability of survival and age. In addition, mortality rates and length of intensive care unit and hospital stay are significantly increased in transfused patients.