Red blood cell transfusion policy: A critical literature review

Massimo Franchini, Giuseppe Marano, Carlo Mengoli, Simonetta Pupella, Stefania Vaglio, Manuel Muñoz, Giancarlo M. Liumbruno

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


The issue of the most appropriate red blood cell transfusion policy has been addressed by a number of randomised controlled trials, conducted over the last decades, comparing the effects on patients' outcome of restrictive blood transfusion strategies (transfusing when the haemoglobin concentration is less than 7 g/dL to 8 g/dL) vs more liberal ones (transfusing when the haemoglobin concentration is less than 9 g/dL to 10 g/dL) in a variety of clinical settings. In parallel, various systematic reviews and meta-analyses have tried to perform pooled analyses of the data from these randomised controlled trials and their results have been utilised by scientific societies to provide recommendations and guidelines on red blood cell transfusion thresholds. All these aspects will be critically discussed in this narrative review.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-317
Number of pages11
JournalBlood Transfusion
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017



  • Red blood cells
  • Transfusion policy
  • Transfusion thresholds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Hematology

Cite this