Blood Transfusions and Palliative Care: Systematic Literature Review

Main Article Content

Marta Lorenzo Ibáñez María Nabal Vicuña Luis May Málaga Diana C. Forero Vega


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.

Keywords: Palliative care AND Blood transfusion

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How to Cite
IBÁÑEZ, Marta Lorenzo et al. Blood Transfusions and Palliative Care: Systematic Literature Review. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 9, n. 8, aug. 2021. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 25 june 2024. doi:
Review Articles


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