BACKGROUND: Blood transfusion may transmit infec-tious diseases with long incubation periods. Estimation of the risks of transmission of such disease requires know-ledge of long-term survival of transfused patients. No such information is available in the UK, where there is particular concern about possible transmission by trans-fusion of variant CJD.
STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Information on survival after transfusion and demographics was collected for all patients transfused during June 1994 in a popula-tion of 2.9 million served by a single blood center.
RESULTS: A total of 2899 patients were transfused with 10,760 units of RBCs (99% of RBCs issued during the study period). Follow-up to death or 5 years was com-pleted for 98.2 percent, and 46.9 percent of all transfusion recipients were alive at 5 years; 41 percent of transfused RBC units and 36 percent of transfused FFP were given to patients who were alive at 5 years. Median age at transfusion was 67 years (mean, 60.9 years). Shorter patient survival was associated with increasing patient age, increasing numbers of RBC units transfused, trans-fusion of plasma or PLTs, and nonsurgical indications for transfusion.
CONCLUSIONS: Posttransfusion survival is lower than estimated in previous decades in other countries. This is probably due to a relative increase in use of transfusion for older patients and for medical indications. Our figures may be used to predict and stratify the risk of infections, such as variant CJD, amongst different groups of transfusion recipients.