Home-Based Transfusions May Be A Safe And Viable Option For MDS Patients
Published: Apr 3, 2012 5:07 pm
A recent Italian study shows that red blood cell transfusions administered through a home care program may be a feasible and safe option for elderly myelodysplastic syndromes patients with other severe diseases.
The Italian researchers pointed out, however, that the study did not include any cost comparison of home versus hospital administration nor any analysis of quantitative quality of life data. They therefore suggest further studies that include these two parameters.
Chronic low red blood cell counts, known as anemia, represent a common complication for patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). Many of these patients rely on regular red blood cell transfusions to improve their red blood cell counts. However, transfusions typically require frequent visits to an outpatient hospital, which, according to the Italian investigators, may be difficult for elderly patients or patients with advanced-stage MDS.
In order to improve the quality of life of transfusion-dependent MDS patients, St. Eugenio Hospital in Rome, Italy, with the financial support of a local patient association, offered a hospital-based home care service to administer transfusions. Since Italian health care regulations require a physician to administer a blood transfusion, an attending hematologist and a nurse visited the patients at home during the course of the program.
In the present study, researchers from the hospital reported the results of this service from 2006 to 2010.
A total of 211 MDS patients received transfusions at home as part of the home care program. The average patient age was 85 years.
The vast majority of patients (87 percent) had severe coexisting diseases that were not blood-related. The most common coexisting diseases included cardiovascular diseases (30 percent), neurological diseases (23 percent), and diabetes (20 percent).
Approximately 82 percent of patients were dependent on transfusions at the start of the program. The remaining 18 percent became transfusion-dependent during the course of the program.
The median duration of home care was 9.2 months. The patients received a median of 38 blood transfusions at home.
According to the Italian researchers, no serious side effects occurred during the at-home administration of the blood transfusions.
Approximately 5 percent of patients experienced mild complications after receiving transfusions, including allergic reactions, skin rashes, and fever. All of the complications were managed at home and did not require hospital admissions.
The researchers reported that patients and their family members highly appreciated the home care service.
Over the course of the program, 28 percent of patients progressed from MDS to acute myeloid leukemia.
For more information, please refer to the study in Leukemia Research (abstract).
- Patients With Myelodysplastic Syndromes Prefer To Be Transfusion-Independent
- Home Administration Of Vidaza May Be Feasible For MDS Patients (ASH 2011)
- Intensity, Not Total Number, Of Red Blood Cell Transfusions May Be Linked To Poor MDS Prognosis (EHA 2010)
- Researchers Develop A New Way Of Assessing Prognosis For Myelodysplastic Syndromes Patients Based On Presence Of Additional Diseases
- Higher Hemoglobin Levels May Be Associated With Improved Quality of Life In MDS Patients