Abstract

The transfusion support of hematological malignancies considers 2 dimensions: the quantity of what we order (in terms of triggers, doses, targets, and intervals), and the special qualities thereof (with respect to depths of matching and appropriate product modifications). Meanwhile, transfusion-related enhancements in the quantity and quality of life may not be dose dependent but rather tempered by unintended patient harms and system strains from overexposure. Evidence and guidelines concur in endorsing clinically noninferior conservative red blood cell (RBC) transfusion care strategies (eg, triggering at hemoglobin <7-8 g/dL and in single-unit doses for stable, nonbleeding inpatients). However, the unique subpopulation of patients with hematological malignancies who are increasingly managed on an outpatient basis, and striving at least as much for quality of life as quantity of life, is left on the edges of these recommendations, with more questions than answers. If a sufficiently specific future wave of evidence can satisfy the concerns (and contest the assumptions) of the remaining proponents of liberalism, and if conservatism is broadly adopted, savings may be potentially immense. These savings can then be reinvested to address other gaps and inconsistencies in RBC transfusion care, such as the best achievable degrees of prophylactic antigen matching that can minimize alloimmunization-related service delays and reactions.

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