Canada lags in use of blood conservation techniques

February 04, 2002

The use of blood conservation techniques in elective surgery reduces the risk of infection and transfusion reactions that result from using allogeneic blood products, but Brian Feagan and colleagues report that use of these techniques remains low in Canada.

The authors reviewed 4535 medical records from patients who underwent elective orthopedic procedures at 19 Canadian hospitals between June 1998 and January 1999. They found that of the 4422 patients whose eligibility status was known, 2561 (57.9%) were eligible to participate in an autologous blood donation (ABD) program. However, only 842 (18.6%) of the patients predonated blood, and blood-conservation techniques (reinfusion of blood lost during surgery) were used in only 2.4% of all cases.

The authors report that while blood-conservation techniques are being used more frequently than when they conducted a similar study in 1995/96 and found only 8% of 2233 patients had participated in an ABD program, the numbers remain low.

In a related commentary, Battista Borghi recommends greater cooperation among anesthetists, surgeons and transfusionists in order to take advantage of alternatives to autologous blood donation during and following surgery.
-end-
p. 310 Transfusion practice practices for elective orthopedic surgery
-- B.G. Feagan et al

p. 332 Reducing the risk of allogenic blood transfusion
-- B. Borghi

Contacts:Dr. Brian Feagan, Director, London Clinical Trials Research Group, John P. Robarts Research Institute, London; tel. 519 663-3589

Prof. Battista Borghi, Departmental Module of Research in Anaesthesia, IRCCS Rizzoli Orthopaedic Insitute, Bologna, Italy email: battista.borghi@ior.it

Canadian Medical Association Journal

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