TRiCS, an Australian good news story

The NHMRC funded Australian arm pf TRoCS is bringing cardiac surgery units around Australia together as key players in this major international study into blood transfusion.

TRiCS stands for Transfusion Triggers in Cardiac Surgery and is by far the largest study of its kind. Most do not know that cardiac surgery is the second largest consumer of blood products with almost 70 per cent of patients in North America being transfused. What is not known is whether there are benefits to transfusing patient with a higher or a lower threshold hemoglobin trigger.

The Australian group of cardiac surgery units in Australia were successful in receiving a four-year NHMRC project grant of $1.4 m to participate in the global study. The Australian principle investigator is Professor Alistair Royse, and the administering institution is the University of Melbourne. This study is proving to be not only a very successful at recruiting toward its target of 4500 patients, but a unifying force to help foster ambitions of further collaborative research among cardiac surgery units.

There are also important prospects of post-hoc analysis of the Australian data-set once the study is concluded. This should be the most important study into the role of 'liberal' or 'restrictive' perioperative transfusion strategies.