Transfusion services must offer means of issuing blood products quickly for emergent transfusions. At Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital (LPCH), off-site refrigerators were installed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the LPCH operating room (OR) and the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) inventoried with uncrossmatched O negative RBCs for immediate emergency use. Uncrossmatched O negative RBCs are also provided to children undergoing cardiac catheterization at the discretion of the Pediatric Cardiologist, since these patients commonly do not have type and screen samples drawn until large vessel venous cannulation via insertion of the catheter. Uncrossmatched blood products are also provided for children per our massive transfusion protocol (MTP). The purpose of this study was to assess the utilization of these uncrossmatched blood products in children and its impact on transfusion service (TS) inventory of O negative RBCs.
Orders received for emergency-release uncrossmatched RBCs for patients ages 0 days to 18 years including MTPs from January 1 2011 to March 31 2011 were evaluated retrospectively. Variables collected include: patient demographic information and diagnosis; blood products ordered, released and transfused; location of the patient and location from where blood was dispensed (off-site refrigerator versus [vs] TS).
Median patient age was 3.46 years (range 0 days to 15.62 years), and 82% of the patients had congenital heart disease. Sixty four RBCs were issued to 33 patients during the 3-month study period. Of those, 32 RBCs were transfused, 8 RBCs were wasted because temperature parameters were exceeded before return to the TS, and 24 RBCs (38%) were not transfused and returned to TS inventory. Nineteen of the 32 RBCs were transfused, representing 2% of the total 964 O negative RBC units transfused at our institution for that time period. Nineteen (58%) units were for children in the cardiac catheterization suite. Seven patients were in the CVICU, five children were in the NICU, and two were in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Two units of O negative RBCs were dispensed from the emergency off-site refrigerator in the CVICU.
The majority of children (79%) who received emergency-release uncrossmatched O negative RBCs at LPCH were those with congenital heart disease undergoing cardiac catheterization or being cared for post-operatively in the CVICU. There were 2 instances of children requiring RBCs from off-site refrigerators for an emergent transfusion. Emergency-release, uncrossmatched O negative RBCs at LPCH either from the TS or from three off-site refrigerators caused no undue strain on our supply and inventory of donor O negative RBCs.
No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.