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ObjectiveTo determine if using freshest available rather than standard-issue red blood cells (RBCs) can reduce mortality in critically ill intensive care unit patients. Our study is the largest ongoing randomised controlled trial (RCT) of RBC age in critically ill patients and will help determine if the use of the freshest available RBCs should become standard policy for the critically ill.Design, setting and participantsA double-blind, multicentre, Phase III RCT of 5000 adult ICU patients in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the Middle East.InterventionsTransfusion of the freshest available RBCs in place of standard-care RBCs until hospital discharge.Main outcome measuresThe primary outcome measure is 90-day all-cause mortality. Secondary outcome measures are time to death, 28-day and 180-day mortality, persistent organ dysfunction combined with death, days alive and free of mechanical ventilation and renal replacement therapy, bloodstream infection in the ICU, length of stay in the ICU and in hospital, proportion of patients with febrile non-haemolytic transfusion reactions, and quality of life at Day 180.ResultsA detailed statistical analysis plan with predefined subgroups and secondary analyses has been finalised before results being available, to ensure an unbiased final analysis.ConclusionsThe pragmatic protocol design has been chosen to facilitate translation of the trial results into practice. The TRANSFUSE trial will have important clinical and policy implications, regardless of the outcome.



Critical care and resuscitation : journal of the Australasian Academy of Critical Care Medicine

Publication Date





255 - 261


Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Research Centre, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.


Humans, Erythrocyte Transfusion, Clinical Protocols, Research Design, Intention to Treat Analysis