DDW News

Higher Transfusion Rates in GI Cancer Surgery Associated with Worse Outcomes

Red blood cell transfusions are common in patients who undergo surgery for gastrointestinal (GI) cancer. These patients are at high risk for requiring transfusions because of their underlying malignancy, poor nutrition and previous chemotherapies. Research from the past three decades has shown an association between transfusions and poorer outcomes following surgery – including death.

Jesse Zuckerman, MD, general surgery resident from the University of Toronto, reviewed practices and hospital data to understand the relationship between variation in transfusion use among individual surgeons and hospitals and its impact on surgical outcomes in GI cancer surgery. In a blog post on Chief Healthcare Executive, Dr. Zuckerman shared key findings from his research and insight into the changes that can be made at hospitals and health systems to prevent negative outcomes in patients undergoing transfusions.

Dr. Zuckerman presented findings of the study, “The contribution of surgeon and hospital variation in transfusion practice to outcomes for patients undergoing gastrointestinal cancer surgery: A population-based analysis,” abstract 326, at Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) 2021.

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