AUTHORS: Meyer, Matthew J. MD et al
Anesthesia & Analgesia: February 2017 – Volume 124 – Issue 2 – p 618–622
BACKGROUND: Blood product transfusion is the most commonly performed hospital procedure. Intraoperative blood product utilization varies between institutions and anesthesiologists. In the United States in 2011, nearly 4 million plasma units were transfused.
METHODS: A retrospective analysis of intraoperative plasma ordering patterns and utilization (thawing and transfusing) was performed at a tertiary, academic hospital between January 2015 and March 2016.
RESULTS: Over 15 months, 46,002 operative procedures were performed. In 1540 of them, plasma was thawed or transfused: 8297 plasma units were thawed and 3306 of those units were transfused. These 3306 plasma units were transfused in 749 cases with a median of 2 plasma units (interquartile range, 2–4) transfused. The percentage of average monthly procedures with plasma thawed and none transfused was 51.3% (confidence interval, 49.0%–53.6%). The cardiac surgery service requested the greatest number of plasma units to be thawed (2143) but only transfused 712 (33.2%) of them. Of all plasma units not transfused, 45% were generated by procedures with 1 to 4 units of plasma thawed; 95.7% of these units were thawed as even integers (ie, 2, 4).
CONCLUSIONS: For operative procedures, far more plasma was thawed than was transfused and this practice occurred across surgical specialties and anesthesiologists. Considering the plasma that was not transfused, 45% occurred in procedures with 4 or fewer units of plasma requested suggesting these low-volume requests were a primary source of potential waste. Further studies are needed to examine associations between plasma utilization and clinical outcomes.