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A review of blood product usage in a large emergency department over a one-year period
  1. Hannah Beckwith1,
  2. Lynn Manson2,
  3. Carol McFarlane2,
  4. Matthew J Reed3
  1. 1University of Edinburgh, College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2Department of Transfusion Medicine, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  3. 3Department of Emergency Medicine, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Matthew J Reed, Emergency Department, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, 51 Little France Crescent, Edinburgh EH16 4SA, UK; matthew.reed{at}


Objectives To establish blood product usage and wastage within a UK emergency department (ED).

Methods A retrospective case note review of patients presenting to the ED requiring blood products.

Results Between 1 January 2007 and 31 December 2007, 770 transfusion requests were identified, representing 3209 units of blood products. Gastrointestinal bleeding was the most frequent indication for blood product request. 39.5% (1204 units) of blood products ordered were transfused, 47.8% (1458 units) recycled (including 53.4%; 1260 units; of red cell concentrate; RCC), 3.2% (97 units) wasted and 9.5% (289 units) unaccounted for. Median age of recipients was 65 (IQR 46–78) years and 56% of all transfusions were given to patients over 60 years old.

Conclusion Patients receiving blood products are elderly. Up to half of all requested products are recycled having not being used for the indication for which they were requested, and 3% of blood products are wasted. With an ageing population and limited blood product availability, transfusion requests should be more carefully considered.

  • Blood
  • blood products
  • blood transfusion
  • emergency department
  • audit
  • epidemiology
  • trauma

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Lothian Research Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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