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OBJECTIVE: To evaluate red blood cell use during delivery in patients with placenta accreta spectrum.

DATA SOURCES: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, Cochrane Central,, and Scopus for clinical trials and observational studies published between 2000 and 2021 in countries with developed economies.

METHODS OF STUDY SELECTION: Abstracts (n=4,275) and full-text studies (n=599) were identified and reviewed by two independent reviewers. Data on transfused red blood cells were included from studies reporting means and SDs, medians with interquartile ranges, or individual patient data. The primary outcome was the weighted mean number of units of red blood cells transfused per patient. Between-study heterogeneity was assessed with an I2 statistic. Secondary analyses included red blood cell usage by placenta accreta subtype.

TABULATION, INTEGRATION, AND RESULTS: Of the 599 full-text studies identified, 20 met criteria for inclusion in the systematic review, comprising 1,091 cases of placenta accreta spectrum. The number of units of red blood cells transfused was inconsistently described across studies, with five studies (25.0%) reporting means, 11 (55.0%) reporting medians, and four (20.0%) reporting individual patient data. The weighted mean number of units transfused was 5.19 (95% CI 4.12-6.26) per patient. Heterogeneity was high across studies (I2=91%). In a sensitivity analysis of five studies reporting mean data, the mean number of units transfused was 6.61 (95% CI 4.73-8.48; n=220 patients). Further quantification of units transfused by placenta accreta subtype was limited due to methodologic inconsistencies between studies and small cohort sizes.

CONCLUSION: Based on the upper limit of the CI in our main analysis and the high study heterogeneity, we recommend that a minimum of 6 units of red blood cells be available before delivery for patients with placenta accreta spectrum. These findings may inform future guidelines for predelivery blood ordering and transfusion support.


(C) 2023 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.