Myocardial infarction patients with other diseases are at an increased risk of mortality. Co-principal investigator Dr. Paul Hébert of the study MINT explained, “Most people who suffer a first infarction do not need blood transfusion, but for those who do, the mortality rate is higher. These are often elderly patients who sometimes have other diseases. The problem is that we don’t know how much blood we should give them.”
The randomized trial includes 70 hospitals in the U.S. and Canada and will compare two blood transfusion strategies – liberal and restrictive – in 3,500 patients who are at risk for myocardial infarction. Dr. Hébert added, “We are going to determine whether giving more blood to keep the patient at a threshold of 100 g/L hemoglobin is preferable to giving less blood with a threshold of 80 g/L. We will see the impact on mortality after 30 days.”
The results of a pilot trial involving 110 patients revealed that mortality was higher after 30 days in patients who received less hemoglobin compared to those who received more. The researchers suspect that it is more beneficial to give more blood to patients with myocardial ischemia for improved health outcomes.
Dr. Jacques Lacroix, contributor to the MINT study, added, “This clinical trial is the logical follow-up to our research on transfusion thresholds going back more than 30 years. It will help us resolve one of the last major issues in the field.”
The researchers are hopeful that their findings from the MINT study will help influence medical practice and save more lives.