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University of Maryland finds restricting post-surgery blood transfusion is safe for some hip patients
Date:12/14/2011

More than half of the older, anemic patients in a New England Journal of Medicine study did not need blood transfusions as they recovered from hip surgery, according to new research co-authored by University of Maryland School of Medicine scientists. The findings could immediately change the way such patients are treated.

Doctors have long assumed that transfusions strengthen patients weakened by anemia, improving their chances at recovery from surgery after hip fracture. But the North American study of more than 2,000 patients found no significant difference in rate of recovery between patients who received transfusions at a moderate level of anemia and those who did not receive transfusions until their anemia was more advanced.

"Hip fracture is a major public health problem for our rapidly growing older population," says senior author Jay Magaziner, Ph.D., M.S.Hyg., professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "These fractures lead to serious declines in the ability to walk and carry out routine activities independently. After hip fracture, our goal is to get patients back on their feet and mobile again. If they can walk without the help of another person, they can take care of themselves and keep their independence."

Surgery to repair hip fractures and give patients a chance to walk again comes with its own major challenges, including anemia after the procedure, says one of two principal investigators on the study, Michael Terrin, M.D., C.M., M.P.H., a professor of epidemiology and public health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

"Recovery from surgery can be difficult, in particular in patients with cardiovascular disease or risk factors," Dr. Terrin says. "With this study, we set out to examine whether administering blood transfusions at a moderate level of anemia would improve the chances that these particular patients wo
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Contact: Karen Robinson
karobinson@som.umaryland.edu
410-706-7590
University of Maryland Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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