European Commission publishes guidance on the use of blood products

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The documents provide practical guidance on implementing a patient blood management system as a new standard of care

Last month, results from a comprehensive five-year Patient Blood Management (PBM) programme in Western Australia were published in Transfusion detailing how the implementation of the programme led to reductions in hospital mortality, average hospital length of stay, hospital-acquired infections and incidences of heart attack or stroke. The use of blood products also decreased by 41 per cent during the study period.

The European Commission has now published two new guides on patient blood management, one aimed at hospitals and another at health authorities , and says it hopes the development of these guides will “enhance the efforts of health authorities and professionals across the EU to achieve similar results”.

It says while blood transfusion is still considered first-line treatment for anaemia and/or blood loss, a large body of clinical evidence shows that in many clinical scenarios, both anaemia and blood loss can be effectively treated with a series of evidence-based measures to better manage and preserve a patient’s own blood. It adds, the high prevalence of untreated pre-operative anaemia, the unmet need for improved bleeding management, and a liberal transfusion practice, all point towards huge potential to improve outcome through rationalisation of transfusion.

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