Author Interviews, Hematology, Surgical Research, Transfusions / 19.03.2018 Interview with: Shawn Anthony, MD, MBA Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Rates of total shoulder arthroplasty are increasing, especially with an aging population.  Blood loss requiring transfusion is less common than in total hip or knee replacements but still required in some patients.  Tranexamic acid (TXA) is increasingly used to reduce blood loss in lower extremity arthroplasty but limited data exists for its effectiveness and safety in patients undergoing shoulder arthroplasty. We aimed to utilize national data to assess frequency of use and effectiveness of TXA in shoulder arthroplasty patients. While utilization of TXA has become very common in total hip and knee arthroplasty, TXA is still used in less than 50% of patients undergoing shoulder arthroplasty as of 2016.  TXA use was associated with a 36% decrease in transfusion risk and a 35% decreased risk for combined complications. Moreover, TXA use was associated with 6.2% shorter hospital stay. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Hematology, JAMA / 17.10.2017 Interview with: Rutger Middelburg, PhD Assistant Professor in clinical epidemiology Sanquin Research and LUMC What is the background for this study? Response: Six years ago we found transfusions from female donor to be associated with increased mortality among male recipients, especially under 50 years of age. This was an unexpected observation and we considered the probability of a false positive finding (i.e. a chance association) to be relatively high. We therefore immediately started a follow-up study with two main objectives. First, we wanted to confirm our findings in an independent and much larger cohort. Second, since some complications of blood transfusion are known to be related to pregnancy history of the donor, we wanted to study a possible relationship with previous pregnancy of the blood donors. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hematology, Lancet / 09.04.2017 Interview with: Dr. med. Kathleen Selleng, OÄ, QB Hämotherapie Universitätsmedizin Greifswald Institut für Immunologie und Transfusionsmedizin, Abt. Transfusionsmedizin Sauerbruchstraße Greifswald Deutschland What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Red blood cell concentrates (RBCs) of blood group O RhD negative are frequently used as universal blood for emergency transfusions in patients with unknown blood type. This leads to an over-proportional use of these red blood cell concentrates and regular shortages of O RhD negative RBCs. Due to these shortages, patients with known RhD negative blood type sometimes have to be transfused with RhD positive RBCs. The present study shows that the overall risk to induce an anti-D by transfusing all emergency patients with unknown blood type with O RhD positive RBCs is in the range of 3 to 6%, while this risk is much higher (20-30%) in RhD negative patients which have to be transfused with RhD positive RBCs due to RhD negative RBC shortages. (more…)
Author Interviews, Lancet, Outcomes & Safety, Thromboembolism, Transfusions / 28.11.2016 Interview with: Mary A.M. Rogers, PhD, MS Research Associate Professor Research Director, Patient Safety Enhancement Program Department of Internal Medicine University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI What is the background for this study? Response: Peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs) are commonly used for vascular access in hospitalized patients. Previous studies have shown that PICCs of larger gauge (diameter) increase the risk of developing venous thromboembolism (blood clots in the deep veins that sometimes travel to the lung). Red blood cell transfusion is also known to increase the risk of venous thromboembolism. Because PICCs are often used to transfuse blood, we designed a study to investigate whether the method of transfusion delivery influences the risk of developing venous thromboembolism. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, Lancet / 23.04.2016 Interview with: Prof Jean-Pierre Allain Principal Investigator, Department of Haematology University of Cambridge, Cambridge Blood Centre Cambridge UK What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Prof. Allain: In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), 70% of the transfusions are in the form of  whole blood units (generally 1 or 2). Lack of resources limit the safety measures to donor questionnaire, viral/bacterial testing (HIV, HCV, HBV and Syphilis). Other measures used in rich countries i.e. nucleic acid testing, filtration, bacterial culture etc. are not done because of cost. Pathogen reduction would be an effective way to overcome these issues as it is able to inactivate viruses, bacteria, parasites and nucleated cells in one go, provided it is applied to whole blood and affordable. The study consisted in assessing the efficacy of such a method (Mirasol using riboflavin and UV illumination) taking inactivation of plasmodium as major endpoint of a randomised controlled clinical trial called AIMS (African Investigation of Mirasol System). (more…)
Anemia, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA, Transfusions / 07.12.2015 Interview with: Dr. Walter H. Dzik MD Associate Pathologist, Massachusetts General Hospital Associate Professor of Pathology Harvard Medical School Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Dzik: Millions of Red Blood Cell transfusions are given each year.  To maintain adequate blood inventories worldwide, Red Blood Cell units are stored under refrigerated conditions.  Previous animal and laboratory research has highlighted the fact that red cells undergo biochemical, morphologic, and biophysical changes during prolonged refrigerated blood storage.    Researchers and clnicians have questioned whether the changes that occur during storage would impair the ability of transfused Red Cells to delivery oxygen to tissues. Our study was a randomized controlled trial conducted in patients with extreme anemia and insufficient global tissue oxygenation.    We randomly assigned children with severe anemia and lactic acidosis to receive Red Blood Cells stored 1-10 days versus Red Blood Cells stored 25-35 days.   We measured the recovery from lactic acidosis in response to transfusion in the two groups.   We also measured cerebral tissue oxygenation using a non-invasive tissue oximeter.    We found that the proportion of patients who achieved reversal of lactic acidosis was the same in the two RBC storage-duration groups.   The rate of decline of lactic acidosis was also equal.   There was also no difference in cerebral oxygenation, resolution of acidosis, correction of vital signs, clinical recovery, survival and 30-day followup.    (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, NEJM, Surgical Research / 15.03.2015

Barnaby C. Reeves, D.Phil. Professor of Health Services Research, Clinical Trials & Evaluation Unit School of Clinical Sciences, University of Bristol Bristol Royal Infirmary Interview with: Barnaby C. Reeves, D.Phil. Professor of Health Services Research, Clinical Trials & Evaluation Unit School of Clinical Sciences, University of Bristol Bristol Royal Infirmary Bristol Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: Variable decisions are made about when to transfuse patients after cardiac surgery. The circumstances of particular patients influence decisions about whether to give a transfusion. Transfusion is a life-saving intervention when a patient is experiencing life-threatening bleeding but most patients have only one or two units of red cells transfused. These transfusions are given at varying levels of anaemia. Some doctors prefer to give a transfusion after cardiac surgery when a patient is only mildly anaemic, believing that the transfusion will promote recovery, while other doctors prefer to wait to transfuse until a patient is substantially anaemic, believing that a transfusion may do more good than harm and is wasteful if it is not needed. Therefore, we carried out a randomized controlled trial comparing restrictive (transfuse when haemoglobin <7.5 g/dL) and liberal transfusion thresholds (transfuse when haemoglobin <9.0 g/dL).* Medical Research: What are the main findings? Response: We obtained written informed consent before surgery but only randomized participants after surgery, in intensive care, if their Hb dropped below 9 g/dL. (Hence, we recruited over 3,500 patients but randomized only 2007.) This design avoids ‘diluting’ any difference between groups by including participants who would not usually be ‘considered’ for transfusion. The primary outcome was the occurrence of one or more serious complications: heart attack, stroke, acute kidney injury, bowel infarction, infection; this included/involved 35.1% of the patients in the restrictive-threshold group and 33.0% of the patients in the liberal-threshold group. This slight difference – more in the restrictive group – was not statistically significant. We then compared the percentages of patients who died; these were 4.2% in the restrictive group and 2.6% in the liberal group. The difference in this secondary outcome was of borderline statistical significance. Frequencies of other secondary outcomes (infections, ischaemic events, days in critical care and hospital, pulmonary complications) were not different in the two groups. We also carried out some pre-specified sensitivity analyses for the primary outcome and all-cause mortality. The two most important ones aimed to avoid dilution of the difference between groups as a result of patients having transfusions or outcome events before randomization. Excluding patients who were transfused before randomization shifted the treatment effect to favour the liberal threshold more strongly, for both the primary outcome and mortality. Excluding patients who experienced an outcome event in the first 24 hours after randomization did not change the treatment effect for either outcome. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hematology, Surgical Research, Transfusions / 08.05.2013 eInterview with Luca Weltert, MD Cardiac Surgery Department of the European Hospital in Rome, Presentation during the Plenary Scientific Session of the 93rd AATS Annual Meeting in Minneapolis. What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Luca Weltert: This study illustrates the efficacy of Human Recombinant Erythropoietin (HRE) in avoiding blood transfusions in the heart surgery setting. And aside from complicated number, tables and statistics tells that HRE can reduce Blood Transfusions as much as 65%, while at the same time not exposing patients to any substantial added risk. (more…)