Transfusion practices among the neurosurgical community of Puerto Rico

Anemia is a common problem in the intensive care unit (ICU); almost 95% of patients admitted to an ICU have a hemoglobin (Hb) level below normal by day 3. (1) Serious effects of anemia include increased risk of cardiac related morbidity and mortality, as well as generalized decrease in oxygen carrying capacity. More than 50% of the patients admitted to the ICUs will receive blood transfusions. (1) Although anemia can easily be corrected with packed red blood cells (PRBC), multicenter, randomized, controlled trials and large, prospective, observational studies have shown that liberal use of blood transfusions to be ineffective and potentially harmful. (1-3)