What are RBC-transfusion-dependence and -independence?
The term RBC-transfusion-dependence is widely-used by hematologists to describe a condition of severe anemia typically arising when erythropoiesis is reduced such that a person continuously requires ≥1 RBC-transfusions over a specified interval. Defining a person as RBC-transfusion-dependent has important implications in diverse hematological disorders especially because it strongly-correlated with decreased survival. Conversely, becoming RBC-transfusion-independent or receiving fewer RBC-transfusions over a specified interval is defined as improvement or response in many disease- and/or therapy-setting. Whether this correlates with improved survival is controversial. We used a structured expert-panel consensus panel process to define RBC-transfusion-dependence and -independence or improvement. We suggest these definitions may prove useful to persons studying or treating these diseases.