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Adherence to guidelines on red blood cell transfusions in women having post-partum haemorrhage

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INTRODUCTION: Transfusion of blood products occurs frequently as part of the treatment of post-partum haemorrhage, but since it is both expensive and has potentially severe complications, prescription of blood products should be restricted. The aim of this study was to examine if restrictive red blood cell transfusion (RBC-T) practice for obstetric patients was in line with national Danish guidelines.

METHODS: A retrospective quality assurance study was conducted at Rigshospitalet, Denmark. The study counted the participation of the Department of Anaesthesiology and Surgery, the Juliane Marie Centre, the Danish Blood Bank and the Department of Obstetrics. Patients were identified via the patient database of the Danish Blood Bank in 2015-2017, and patient files were read.

RESULTS: Out of 16,698 delivering women, 196 (1.2%) received one or more RBC-T from 2015 to 2017. A total of 133 women (67.9%) received more than one RBC-T and the median was two. The most common reason for RBC-T was a "low haemoglobin level (Hb) + anaemic symptoms" (37.0%). A total of 20.3% of all RBC-Ts were prescribed based simply on a low Hb. The most common symptom of anaemia was dizziness.

CONCLUSIONS: The majority of RBC-Ts for obstetric patients were conducted in line with the guidelines. However, 6.0% of RBC-Ts were registered to be in discrepancy with the guidelines and 20.3% of RBC-Ts were prescribed on the "low Hb" criterium solely. It is possible, though, that the 20.3% is overestimated due to insufficient descriptions of indications for RBC-T in patient files.

FUNDING: none.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: The study was approved by the management at Rigshospitalet.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDanish Medical Journal
Volume67
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)A10190569
ISSN1603-9629
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020

ID: 61030554