To characterize the contemporary red cell transfusion practice in the critically ill and to define clinical factors that influence these practices.
Scenario-based national survey.
Canadian critical care practitioners.
We evaluated transfusion thresholds before transfusion and the number of red cell units ordered, under the given conditions. Of 254 Canadian critical care physicians, 193 (76%) responded to the survey. The primary specialty of most respondents was internal medicine (56%). Internal medicine respondents were in practice for an average of 8.4 +/- 5.7 (SD) yrs, and worked most often in combined medical/surgical intensive care units. Baseline hemoglobin transfusion thresholds averaged from 8.3 +/- 1.0 g/dL in a scenario involving a young stable trauma victim to 9.5 +/- 1.0 g/dL for an older patient after gastrointestinal bleeding. Transfusion thresholds differed significantly (p .05), all clinical factors (including age, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score, preoperative status, hypoxemia, shock, lactic acidosis, coronary ischemia, and chronic anemia) significantly (p