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Blood transfusions have more than doubled

Research Activities, November 2009

The number of hospital stays for patients who received blood transfusions more than doubled (from 1.1 million to nearly 2.7 million) between 1997 and 2007, according to the latest data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). This represented the largest increase in procedures over the 11-year period not involving pregnancy or childbirth. Patients need blood transfusions because of sudden loss of blood from injuries; low red blood cell count before, during, or after surgery; cancer; or moderate to severe anemia. AHRQ also found that other procedures not related to pregnancy or childbirth increased significantly during the period, including:

  • Knee surgeries-up 86 percent, from 329,000 to 611,000 stays.
  • Hemodialysis for people with poor kidney functioning or end-stage renal disease-up 66 percent, from 473,000 to 786,000 stays.
  • Respiratory intubation and mechanical ventilation for people with respiratory failure-up 48 percent, from 919,000 to 1.4 million stays.
  • Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty, a procedure to open blocked arteries in the heart-up 24 percent, from 581,000 to 722,000 stays.

These findings are based on data from page 30 in HCUP Facts and Figures 2007 (, which provides highlights of the latest data from the 2007 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a part of AHRQ's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. The report provides data on leading reasons for hospitalization, such as arthritis, asthma, childbirth, cancer, diabetes, depression, and heart conditions; procedures performed on hospital patients; and related topics.

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Page last reviewed November 2009
Internet Citation: Blood transfusions have more than doubled: Research Activities, November 2009. November 2009. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.