Transfusions and quality of life of cancer patients
Hematology and oncology outpatients often receive RBC (red blood cells) transfusions to maintain critical hemoglobin (Hb) thresholds. To investigate the effectiveness of these transfusions, 208 outpatients aged at least 50 years with a hematologic or oncologic diagnosis were enrolled in a prospective study. All 208 study participants were given tests the day of transfusion and again 5 to 10 days post transfusion.
Overall, patients improved a median of 20 meters in unadjusted walk test distance, and a median of 3 points in their fatigue score. No clinically significant changes were observed in dyspnea scores.
Some patients did not improve, but nearly 80% of patients who had not received recent cancer treatment showed improvement in either walk test performance (> 20 m) or fatigue score (> 3 points) after transfusion.
Based on changes in the walk test, greater gains were predicted in stable patients without recent cancer treatment and a post-transfusion Hb level > 8 g/dL.