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BACKGROUND: The only survival and mortality data on a general population of transfused patients in the United States is more than two decades old. More contemporary data are needed to reflect more current patient populations and transfusion practices.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Data were extracted from Constella Health Strategies Sciences’ managed-care administrative claims database that contains private health care claims. Patients were selected if they had at least one professional or facility claim indicating transfusion in 1995. Only the first transfusion in the time period was included so that each patient was counted only once and all claims were unduplicated. Survival for five years after transfusion was the primary outcome measure.

RESULTS: A total of 6779 patients were included in the analysis. A total of 4658 (69%) patients were alive 1 year after transfusion, 4056 (60%) were alive at 2 years, and 3092 (46%) were alive 5 years after transfusion. Overall annual mortality was 31 percent in Year 1 after transfusion, 14 percent in Year 2, and 10 percent in each of Years 3 through 5. Transfusion mortality was much higher in recipients older than age 65 at the time of transfusion, who comprised 60 percent of transfused patients.

CONCLUSION: These data from the mid 1990s can be used in models of the effectiveness of risk reduction interventions and in models of the disease consequences of infections transmitted through blood transfusions.