A massive blood transfusion has been defined as one that requires either a full replacement of the patient’s blood volume or 10 or more units of packed red blood cells in a 24-hour period. While this definition is adequate in describing transfusion volume over time, rate of transfusion is also a critical metric in evaluation of both the patient’s medical need and the demand on blood bank staff.
Massive Transfusion Protocol (MTP) is a term which is used to activate delivery of compatible blood products at a rapid rate (less than five minutes) in emergency situations. This high-pressure situation requires blood bank staff to follow a complex procedure with speed and precision. Complicating the matter further is the relative rarity of MTP activations at community affiliates and the difficulty of observing staff execution of the protocol in a controlled setting. In a lab where many cross-trained laboratorians cover the blood bank (nights and weekends), competency assessment for this procedure includes an exam and drills or practice sessions. Read this protocol commentary and reflect on your lab’s practice.
Some people may safely donate blood as often as every eight weeks but that may not be a healthy choice for all, a new study suggests. A new UK study, published in The Lancet, recommend that blood donors wait 12 to 16 weeks before giving again, in contrast to the USA eight weeks recommendation.
A large clinical trial involving more than 45,000 blood donors was designed to answer a critical question: Do frequent donors suffer ill health effects? The answer, researchers found, was ‘nuanced’. There was no evidence that frequent donations (every eight weeks for men and every 12 weeks for women, over two years) caused major adverse effects, such as draining donors' physical energy, dimming their mental sharpness or harming their general quality of life. On the other hand, one-quarter of frequent donors did develop iron deficiency by the two-year mark. And some complained of symptoms like fatigue, dizziness and trouble breathing. "The shorter interval between donations is probably not ideal," said Dr. Edward Murphy, a researcher with the Blood Systems Research Institute, in San Francisco. The new study is the first clinical trial to test the effects of different donation intervals. "That's the innovation of this research," Murphy said.