Transfusion in Older Anemic Patients: Should the Troponin Value Be Taken into Account?



      Anemia is common in older individuals, but it is not known whether the prognostic impact of transfusion differs according to cardiac troponin concentration.


      During this 2-year retrospective study in an acute geriatric unit, 514 patients with hemoglobin <10 g/dL and troponin sampling were included. Thirty-day and 1-year mortality were compared according to transfusion status and troponin and hemoglobin levels.


      Of the 514 anemic patients included (median age 88 years), 157 (31%) had elevated troponin concentrations. These patients were more likely to die at 30 days (49% vs 27%, P < .001) and 1 year (65% vs 51%, P = .004) than patients with normal values. Among patients with elevated troponin concentrations, 30-day mortality tended to be lower in transfused than in not-transfused patients (hazard ratio 0.48; 95% confidence interval, 0.21-1.08; P = .07). This association was not found in patients without troponin elevation (hazard ratio 1.09; 95% CI, 0.61-1.93; P = .8). Transfusion was associated with 30-day survival in patients with hemoglobin ≤8 g/dL. It was also associated with excess 1-year mortality in patients with hemoglobin >8 g/dL.


      This pilot study suggests that transfusion could be associated with better 30-day outcomes in older anemic patients with anemia-related myocardial injury. Thus, troponin levels could be involved in decision-making relative to transfusion in anemic older patients. Clinical trials are needed to establish the benefit of transfusion in patients with elevated troponins.


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