1 Klinisk Immunologisk Afdeling. Blodbanken og Vævstypelaboratoriet, Diagnostisk Center, Rigshospitalet, The Capital Region of Denmark2 Røntgenafdelingen Bispebjerg og Frederiksberg Hospital, Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital, The Capital Region of Denmark3 Section for Transfusion Medicine, Capital Region Blood Bank, Rigshospitalet Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.
BACKGROUND: The practice of transfusing red blood cells is still liberal in some centres suggesting a lack of compliance with guidelines recommending transfusion of red blood cells at haemoglobin levels of 6-8 g/dL in the non-bleeding patient. Few databases provide ongoing feedback of data on pre-transfusion haemoglobin levels at the departmental level. In a tertiary care hospital, no such data were produced before this study. Our aim was to establish a Patient Blood Management database based on electronic data capture in order to monitor compliance with transfusion guidelines at departmental and hospital levels. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Hospital data on admissions, diagnoses and surgical procedures were used to define the populations of patients. Data on haemoglobin measurements and red blood cell transfusions were used to calculate pre-transfusion haemoglobin, percentage of transfused patients and transfusion volumes. RESULTS: The model dataset include 33,587 admissions, of which 10% had received at least one unit of red blood cells. Haemoglobin measurements preceded 96.7% of the units transfused. The median pre-transfusion haemoglobin was 8.9 g/dL (interquartile range 8.2-9.7) at the hospital level. In only 6.5% of the cases, transfusion was initiated at 7.3 g/dL or lower as recommended by the Danish national transfusion guideline. In 27% of the cases, transfusion was initiated when the haemoglobin level was 9.3 g/dL or higher, which is not recommended. A median of two units was transfused per transfusion episode and per hospital admission. Transfusion practice was more liberal in surgical and intensive care units than in medical departments. DISCUSSION: We described pre-transfusion haemoglobin levels, transfusion rates and volumes at hospital and departmental levels, and in surgical subpopulations. Initial data revealed an extensive liberal practice and low compliance with national transfusion guidelines, and identified wards in need of intervention.