Context. - Most information on compliance with audit criteria for red blood cell (RBC) transfusions comes from single institutions; few studies have compared practices among many hospitals. Objective. - To survey a cross-section of hospitals in 2008 for criteria and compliance with RBC transfusion guidelines, using the College of American Pathologists QProbes format. Design. - One hundred twenty-eight hospitals, representing about 4.5% (724 332 of 16 212 000) of all annual RBC usage in the United States, provided information on their RBC audit practices and their recent rates of compliance. They also each examined 50 RBC transfusion episodes for compliance with their guidelines. Results. - The participants' median, pretransfusion hemoglobin thresholds for audit review were 8.0 to 8.9 g/dL for most clinical settings and 9.0 to 9.9 g/dL for patients with underlying cardiopulmonary disease. For the transfusion episodes examined, 60% (2063 of 6518) were for a single unit. The median of the institutional averages for pretransfusion hemoglobin was 8.1 g/dL, and the median rate of compliance was 69% (range, 0%-100%). Involvement by a pathologist or transfusion medicine expert in the audit system was associated with more-strict audit criteria and better compliance. Conclusions. - Median hemoglobin thresholds for RBC transfusion audits were somewhat higher than currently evolving recommendations, but opportunities for improvement were provided by expert involvement and by the growing frequency of 1-unit transfusions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Medical Laboratory Technology