What is the role of transfusion in the treatment of anemia and hemorrhagic shock?

Updated: Apr 16, 2019
  • Author: Linda L Maerz, MD, FACS, FCCM; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Active hemorrhage resulting in shock is one of the few evidence-based established indications for transfusion. Anemia describes a diminished circulating red cell mass, expressed as grams of hemoglobin per 100 cc of whole blood. Anemia may arise as a result of external loss, internal destruction, inadequate production, or a combination of these entities. While most patients experiencing active hemorrhage become anemic, anemia in itself is not necessarily an indication for transfusion. The result of severe bleeding is hemorrhagic shock, and shock is defined as the inadequate supply of oxygen to support cellular metabolism. Red cell mass repletion is only one facet of therapy for hemorrhagic shock.

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