New ‘PBM Column’ Examines Impact of Red Blood Cell Transfusion on Patients’ Fatigue Levels

April 03, 2023

AABB’s Transfusion Safety and Patient Blood Management (TS/PBM) Subsection recently released the latest article in its “PBM Column” series, “Does Transfusion of Red Blood Cells Make a Patient Feel Better?

In this complimentary resource, Richard Gammon, MD, from OneBlood, assesses currently available research examining the question of how red blood cell transfusion impacts patients’ fatigue levels. “Data from previous studies are mixed as to whether transfusion is linked to improvements in fatigue,” Gammon wrote.

Gammon noted that this may not be a simple question to answer because if transfusion reduces fatigue, patients may become more active, which could increase their fatigue. “Thus, testing whether transfusion affects patients’ fatigability, a measure of fatigue in the context of activity, may be more useful than testing the effect of transfusion on fatigue alone,” he wrote.

The column goes on to provide a more comprehensive overview of the link between red blood cell transfusion and fatigue levels and includes information about patients’ self-report fatigue, comorbidities, transfusion frequency and other factors.

Additional PBM resources are available in AABB’s PBM Toolkit.