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Anemia is an important condition related with symptoms in the later stages of disease; according to World Health Organization its prevalence is between 68-77% in patients with advanced cancer. There is no specific clinical guideline and we do not have clear evidence of the effect of blood transfusions in palliative care.
Objective: Understand indicators and complications of the transfusions on advanced cancer patients.
Methodology: In 2019 a systematic review on PubMed and Cochrane took place, using the key words: Palliative care AND Blood transfusion; analyzing: Type of study; sample size; Pathologies; transfusion criterion; Transfusions benefits; side effects; Survival; and amount of transfused concentrates.
Results: 81 articles selected, adding 6 after a full text reading. For the most part, patients with solid tumors are described and some with no oncology pathology. The symptoms indicated by the transfusion are: Fatigue, dyspnea, asthenia, headache and/or brisk bleeding. Transfused unit’s average was 2 units. Only two studies present a post-transfusion recovery and less than half display information as to associated mortality.
Conclusions: There is no consensus regarding the transfusion indication. The asthenia recovery, well-being, and quality of life based on subjective criteria, are the main effects described. More studies are required.
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