Changing red blood cell transfusion practice in obstetrics and gynaecology: A before and after study of hospital-wide education
Published November 24, 2021 in Wiley Online Library
To assess transfusion practices at a Canadian tertiary care center before and after a hospital-wide blood management educational campaign based on the Choosing Wisely toolkit.
Red blood cell (RBC) transfusions are an essential intervention in obstetrics and gynaecology (O&G). However, with limited guidelines outlining the appropriate use of RBC transfusions, clinicians routinely transfuse based on haemoglobin values and habits.
We conducted a retrospective chart review of all patients who received a RBC transfusion while admitted under an O&G provider in two 12-month periods—before and after the intervention. The campaign consisted of Grand Rounds, formal and informal teaching, and posters placed within the hospital. We judged appropriateness from a set of criteria guided by the status of ongoing bleeding, pre-transfusion haemoglobin, and the number of units ordered simultaneously.
Transfusion appropriateness was poor in pre- and post-intervention periods (46% vs. 51%, p = 0.59). The overall rate of RBC transfusion was reduced from 1.8% to 1.2% (83/4610 vs. 55/4618, p = 0.02) after the intervention. There was a 52% reduction in the total number of RBC units of transfused (229 vs. 111, p < 0.001), a 33% reduction in the number of patients transfused (83 vs. 55, p = 0.016), and fewer multiple-unit transfusions without reassessment (39 vs. 13, p = 0.005).
RBC transfusion appropriateness remained low after a hospital-wide educational campaign. However, there was a marked decrease in overall transfusion use, reflecting the adoption of more restrictive transfusion practices. The low rate of transfusion appropriateness represents an opportunity for further improvement.