Increased Use of Blood Transfusions to Manage Urological Conditions during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) led to an extensive reorganization of the healthcare system in Italy, with significant deferment of the treatment of urology patients. We aimed to assess the impact of deferred treatment during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic on the need for blood transfusions in 3 Italian urology departments. We reviewed hospital chart data on blood transfusions at the urology units of 3 academic centers in the north of Italy from March to April 2020. Data were compared with values from the same time frame in 2019 (March to April 2019). We observed significant reductions of the number of patients admitted to the urology units from March to April 2020 (373 vs. 119) and the number of performed surgeries (242 vs. 938) compared to 2019. Though, the number of transfused blood units was comparable between the 2 years (182 vs. 252), we found a greater mean number of blood units transfused per admission in 2020 (0.49 vs. 0.22; p < 0.0001). As a whole, the transfusion rate for hematuria was higher in 2020 than in 2019 (36 vs. 7.9%; p < 0.0001). The observed increased number of blood transfusions needed throughout the SARS-CoV-2 era could have had a negative impact on both patients and the healthcare system. It is possible to speculate that this is the consequence of a delayed diagnosis and deferred treatment of acute conditions.