The '10/30' (hemoglobin/hematocrit) rule has long been recognized and accepted in the medical community as the threshold for transfusion in the perioperative setting. However, an increasing number of publications suggest there is no absolute threshold for transfusion, and that this decision should be based on an assessment of the overall clinical picture presented by the patient. This article reviews the risks associated with blood transfusions, and the data in humans and animals that describe the benefits of transfusion. Recommendations on the trigger for red cell transfusion are provided.
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