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A review of blood component usage in a large UK emergency department after implementation of simple measures
  1. Sarah-Louise Kelly1,
  2. Matthew J Reed1,2,
  3. Catherine J Innes3,
  4. Lynn Manson3
  1. 1Department of College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2Emergency Department Research Group Edinburgh (EMeRGE), Emergency Department, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, 51 Little France Crescent, Edinburgh UK
  3. 3Department of Transfusion Medicine, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.
  1. Corresponding Dr Matthew J Reed, Emergency Department Research Group Edinburgh (EMeRGE), Emergency Department, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, 51 Little France Crescent, Edinburgh EH16 4SA; mattreed1{at}


Objectives To review clinical indications and demographics of transfusion and the patterns of blood component ordering, transfusion, wastage and traceability, before (2007) and after (2011) implementation of simple improvement strategies.

Methods Retrospective case note review of all patients presenting to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (RIE) Emergency Department (ED) for whom a blood component was requested and historic comparison. Improvement measures implemented between 2007 and 2011 included (1) formal staff education, (2) use of e-learning Module One Safe Transfusion Practice (traceability update, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) traceability regulations and importance of returning completed blood component tags), (3) an ED resuscitation room blood fridge, (4) introduction of a dedicated ED transfusion consultant and ED transfusion link nurse and (5) the presence of an ED consultant on the Hospital Transfusion Group.

Results Between 1st January and 31st December 2011, blood components were requested for 255 patient episodes, totalling 1034 individual units. 687 units (66.4%) of blood component were transfused, 248 components (24.0%) were recycled, 90 components (8.7%) were discarded and nine units (0.9%) were unaccounted for. There was a 64% reduction in blood component ordering (3209 vs 1034 units), a 39% reduction in blood component transfusion (1131 vs 687 units) and a 96% reduction in unaccounted units (214 vs 9 units) between 2007 and 2011. There was a rise in the median age of the patient for whom a transfusion request was made from 63.9 years in 2007 to 67.0 years in 2011.

Conclusions Blood component ordering, usage and traceability within the ED have improved significantly since 2007 following implementation of simple strategies. The age of ED transfusion recipients is increasing.

  • emergency department
  • haematology

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