The trial will enroll 3500 hospitalized patients diagnosed with myocardial infarction who are anemic (have blood counts less than 10 g/dL) to receive either a liberal or a restrictive transfusion strategy.
Patients assigned to the liberal transfusion strategy will receive a red blood cell transfusion anytime there is a blood count less than 10 g/dL.
Patients assigned to the restrictive transfusion strategy are permitted to receive a blood transfusion if the blood count is below 8 g/dL and the doctor believes it is in the patient’s best interest. A transfusion will be strongly recommended if the blood count drops to less than 7 g/dL. If the patient has symptoms of angina (e.g., chest discomfort described as pressure or heaviness) that do not go away with medication, a blood transfusion will be ordered regardless of the blood count.
Patients will be followed for 6 months to assess how well they are recovering from their heart attack.