A link is found between low red blood count, high mortality among elderly cardiac patients.
Although clinicians have long been uncertain about the benefits of blood transfusions in patients with heart attacks, a study by Yale investigators has found that they significantly improve chances for survival.
“Our principal finding is that a low hematocrit on admission is associated with higher mortality rates in elderly heart attack patients,” said principal investigator Harlan M. Krumholz, M.D., associate professor of medicine (cardiology) and epidemiology. “However, blood transfusions, when given to these patients, can significantly decrease their mortality risk. This is the first study to highlight the important link between anemia, blood transfusion and mortality among elderly patients hospitalized for a heart attack.”