Inappropriate transfusion in cardiac surgery may, in part, be due to empiric transfusion therapy instituted in the absence of timely laboratory data. Therefore, the effect of a transfusion decision algorithm based on intraoperative coagulation monitoring of physicians' transfusion practice and the transfusion outcome was evaluated.In a randomized, controlled trial, cardiac surgical patients determined to have microvascular bleeding at the cessation of cardiopulmonary bypass were assigned to algorithm (A) or standard (S) therapy. Group A was treated with plasma and platelet therapy according to a transfusion algorithm based on on-site coagulation data available within 4 minutes. For Group S, the use of laboratory-based data and the decision to transfuse blood components were at physician discretion.Sixty-six patients were entered into the study (Group A, n = 30; Group S, n = 36). Other than the fact that there were significantly more female patients in Group S than in Group A, no differences between cohorts in regard to perioperative risk factors for blood transfusion needs were identified. Therefore, gender was factored in as a covariate in the statistical analysis. Group A patients received fewer hemostatic blood component units (p = 0.008) and had fewer total donor exposures (p = 0.007) during the entire hospitalization period. Linear regression analysis of the differences in slopes in Groups A and S for the relationships between the red cell volume lost and the red cell volume transfused (p < 0.03), non-red cell units transfused (p < 0.0001), and total number of blood components transfused (p < 0.0001) demonstrated that physicians' transfusion practice was significantly altered by the use of a transfusion algorithm with on-site coagulation data, independent of surgical blood losses.The use of algorithms by transfusion decision makers can serve as an effective physician education intervention.
View details for Web of Science ID A1994NH36000003
View details for PubMedID 8178325