The goal of hemovigilance is to increase the safety and quality of blood transfusion. Identification of the adverse reactions will help in taking appropriate steps to reduce their incidence and make blood transfusion process as safe as possible.
To determine the frequency and type of transfusion reactions (TRs) occurring in patients, reported to the blood bank at our institute.
Materials and Methods:
A retrospective review of all TRs reported to the blood bank at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, between December 2007 and April 2012 was done. All the TRs were evaluated in the blood bank and classified using standard definitions.
During the study period a total of 380,658 bloods and blood components were issued by our blood bank. Out of the total 196 adverse reactions reported under the hemovigilance system, the most common type of reaction observed was allergic 55.1% (n = 108), followed by febrile non-hemolytic transfusion reaction (FNHTR) 35.7% (n = 70). Other less frequently observed reactions were Anaphylactoid reactions 5.1% (n = 10), Acute non-immune HTRs 2.6% (n = 5), Circulatory overload 0.5% (n = 1), Transfusion related acute lung injury 0.5% (n = 1), Delayed HTRs 0.5% (n = 1). Not a single case of bacterial contamination was observed.
The frequency of TRs in our patients was found to be 0.05% (196 out of 380,658). This can be an underestimation of the true incidence because of under reporting. It should be the responsibility of the blood transfusion consultant to create awareness amongst their clinical counterpart about safe transfusion practices so that proper hemovigilance system can be achieved to provide better patient care.
Adverse transfusion reactions; blood transfusion; hemovigilance
This study was designed to analyze the incidence and spectrum of adverse effects of blood transfusion so as to initiate measures to minimize risks and improve overall transfusion safety in the institute.
Materials and Methods:
During the period from July 2002 to July 2003 all the adverse events related to transfusion of blood and blood components in various clinical specialties were recorded. They were analyzed and classified on the basis of their clinical features and laboratory tests. Attempt was also made to study the predisposing risk factors.
During the study period 56,503 blood and blood components were issued to 29,720 patients. A total of 105 adverse reactions due to transfusion were observed during the study period. A majority of the adverse reactions was observed in hemato-oncology patients 43% (n = 45) and in presensitized patient groups 63% (n = 66). FNHTR 41% (n = 43) and allergic reactions 34% (n = 36) were the most common of all types of adverse transfusion reactions, followed by AcHTR 8.56% (n = 9). Majority of these AcHTR were due to unmonitored storage of blood in the refrigerator of wards resulting in hemolysis due to thermal injury. Less frequently observed reactions were anaphylactoid reactions (n = 4), bacterial sepsis (n = 4), hypervolemia (n = 2), hypocalcemia (n = 2), TRALI (n = 1), DHTR (n = 1), and TAGvHD (n = 1).
Analysis of transfusion-related adverse outcomes is essential for improving safety. Factors such as improvement of blood storage conditions outside the blood bank, improvement in cross-matching techniques, careful donor screening, adherence to good manufacturing practices while component preparation, bedside monitoring of transfusion, and documentation of adverse events will help in reducing transfusion-related morbidity and mortality.
Hemovigilance; transfusion reaction; adverse events of transfusion; haemolytic transfusion reaction; risk associated with transfusion
The aims of this study were to develop reportable event codes that are applicable to the national hemovigilance systems for hospital blood banks, and to present expansion strategies for the blood banks.
Materials and Methods:
The data were obtained from a literature review and expert consultation, followed by adding to and revising the established hemovigilance code system and guidelines to develop reportable event codes for hospital blood banks. The Medical Error Reporting System-Transfusion Medicine developed in the US and other codes of reportable events were added to the Korean version of the Biologic Products Deviation Report (BPDR) developed by the Korean Red Cross Blood Safety Administration, then using these codes, mapping work was conducted. We deduced outcomes suitable for practice, referred to the results of the advisory councils, and conducted a survey with experts and blood banks practitioners.
We developed reportable event codes that were applicable to hospital blood banks and could cover blood safety - from blood product safety to blood transfusion safety - and also presented expansion strategies for hospital blood banks.
It was necessary to add 10 major categories to the blood transfusion safety stage and 97 reportable event codes to the blood safety stage. Contextualized solutions were presented on 9 categories of expansion strategies of hemovigilance system for the hospital blood banks.
Biologic products deviation report; hemovigilance; medical error reporting system-transfusion medicine; reportable event code
A centralized hemovigilance program to assure patient safety and to promote public health has been launched for the first time in India on Dec 10, 2012 in 60 medical colleges in the first phase along with a well-structured program for monitoring adverse reactions associated with blood transfusion and blood product administration. National Institute of Biologicals (NIB) will be the National Coordinating Centre for Hemovigilance. This program will be implemented under overall ambit of Pharmacovigilance Program of India (PvPI), which is being coordinated by Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (IPC). All medical colleges of the country will be enrolled in this program by the year 2016 in order to have a National Centre of Excellence for Hemovigilance at NIB, which will act as a global knowledge platform.
Hemovigilance; India; Medical colleges; Transfusion Reaction Reporting Form
Hemovigilance is an organized system of surveillance throughout the transfusion chain
intended to evaluate information in order to prevent the appearance or recurrence of
adverse reactions related to the use of blood products.
The aims of this study were to assess the late reporting of incidents related to
possible seroconversion in respect to age, marital status and ethnical background,
annual variations in late reporting, the number of reports opened and closed,
seroconversion of donors and transfusions of blood products within the window period.
This retrospective, descriptive study used data on blood donations in the blood bank in
Uberaba during the period from 2004 to 2011. Some socio-epidemiological characteristics
of the donors and serology test results of donors and recipients were analyzed in
respect to the late reporting of incidents related to possible seroconversion. The
Chi-square test, odds ratio and a regression model were used for statistical analysis.
From 2004 to 2011, the blood bank in Uberaba collected 117,857 blood bags, 284 (0.24%)
of which were investigated for late reported incidents. The profile of the donors was
less than 29 years old, unmarried and non-Whites. Differences in age (p-value <
0.0001), marital status (p-value = 0.0002) and ethnical background (p-value <
0.0001) were found to be statistically significant. There was no statistical difference
between men and women (0.24% and 0.23% respectively; p-value = 0.951). The number of
late reported incidents increased until 2008 followed by a downward trend until 2011.
There were twelve cases of seroconversion in subsequent donations (seven human
immunodeficiency virus, four hepatitis B and one hepatitis C) with proven human
immunodeficiency virus infection after screening of only one recipient.
The twelve cases of seroconversion in donors with subsequent infection proven in one
recipient underscores the importance of this tool to increase transfusion safety.
Blood safety; Serology; Blood donors; Blood transfusion/adverse effects; Communicable diseases/transmission; Quality assurance, health care; Retrospective studies
Epidemiological data are essential for monitoring trends and outbreaks of infectious diseases in the general population. The reporting system pursuant to the Infection Protection Act in Germany results in a very good quality of timely nationwide data on all reportable diseases including those relevant for the blood supply: HIV, hepatitis C, hepatitis B and syphilis. Notifications of acute hepatitis B and first-time diagnosed hepatitis C infections in the general population showed a declining trend in the past years, but the number of reports of HIV and syphilis infections increased until 2007 especially among men who have sex with men. New preventive strategies should also address changes in sexual behavior. The specific surveillance of blood donors is an important part of the hemovigilance system. The highly effective donor selection process results in a small number of confirmed infections among donors in Germany. The surveillance data enable us to identify specific trends that might challenge blood safety like the increase in HIV infections among repeat donors. Specific evaluations are performed when needed. These additional studies can be used to modify guidelines or recommendations and to (re)evaluate the need for or the effect of further testing.
Blood donation; HBV; HCV; Hemovigilance; HIV; Epidemiology
Blood transfusion is a life-saving component of health care systems. Nevertheless, it can also be a quick and easy method of exposing patients to risks, particularly the transmission of infectious agents to recipients. Despite substantial improvements in the safety of transfusion services worldwide, the presence of paid and replacement blood donors are still of cause concern for ensuring sustainable safe blood donations. Although the Eastern Mediterranean region consists of a heterogeneous group of countries that vary in their levels of development, they all share common concerns regarding blood safety. In the region, concerns regarding the spread of Hepatitis B and C through blood transfusion continue to exist. Therefore, there is an urgent need for further improvements in both organization and safety measures of blood transfusion activities in the region. Although establishing a centralized blood transfusion system might not be achievable in the short term in some of the countries in the region, the implementation of centralized test kit procurement, data collection, and donation testing could be considered feasible approaches.
Blood transfusion; Blood donors; Mediterranean region
Blood safety remains an important public health concern in Africa where lack of availability or provision of unsafe blood adversely impacts morbidity and mortality in the region. In recognition of this shortfall, the World Health Organization (WHO) established a goal of regional blood safety by 2012 through improved “organization and management, blood donor recruitment and collection, testing of donor blood as well as appropriate clinical use of blood” (Tagny et al: Transfusion. 2008;48:1256–1261; Tapko et al: Status of Blood Safety in the WHO African Region: Report of the 2006 Survey http://www.afro.who.int/en/divisions-a-programmes/dsd/health-technologies-a-laboratories.html. Brazzaville, Republic of Congo: WHO Regional Office for Africa; 2006). Although there has been substantial progress toward meeting these objectives, there are continued obstacles to both development and sustainability. In a setting where transfusion oversight is still being improved, transfusion-transmitted infections are of real concern. The high prevalence of some transfusion-transmissible agents such as hepatitis B virus and HIV in the general population means that some infected blood units escape detection by even well-performed laboratory testing, resulting in potential downstream transmission to patients. The spectrum of transfusion-transmitted infection include conventional as well as exotic pathogens, many of which are endemic to the region, thereby imparting ongoing challenges to recruitment and testing strategies.
The Retrovirus Epidemiology Donor Study (REDS), conducted from 1989–2001, and the Retrovirus Epidemiology Donor Study-II (REDS-II), conducted from 2004–2012, were National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) funded multicenter programs focused on improving blood safety and availability in the United States. REDS-II also included international study sites in Brazil and China. The three major research domains of REDS/REDS-II have been infectious disease risk evaluation, blood donation availability, and blood donor characterization. Both programs have made significant contributions to transfusion medicine research methodology by the use of mathematical modeling, large-scale donor surveys, innovative methods of repository sample storage, and establishing an infrastructure that responded to potential emerging blood safety threats such as XMRV. Blood safety studies have included protocols evaluating epidemiologic and/or laboratory aspects of HIV, HTLV I/II, HCV, HBV, WNV, CMV, HHV-8, B19V, malaria, CJD, influenza, and T. cruzi infections. Other analyses have characterized: blood donor demographics, motivations to donate, factors influencing donor return, behavioral risk factors, donors’ perception of the blood donation screening process, and aspects of donor deferral. In REDS-II, two large-scale blood donor protocols examined iron deficiency in donors and the prevalence of leukocyte antibodies. This review describes the major study results from over 150 peer-reviewed articles published by these two REDS programs. In 2011, a new seven year program, the Recipient Epidemiology and Donor Evaluation Study-III (REDS-III), was launched. REDS-III expands beyond donor-based research to include studies of blood transfusion recipients in the hospital setting, and adds a third country, South Africa, to the international program.
blood safety; transfusion-transmitted infections; blood availability; blood donors
The clinical use of blood has a long history, but its apparent stability belies the complexity of contemporary practices in this field. In this article, we explore how the production, supply and deployment of blood products are socially mediated, drawing on theoretical perspectives from recent work on ‘tissue economies’. We highlight the ways in which safety threats in the form of infections that might be transmitted through blood and plasma impact on this tissue economy and how these have led to a revaluation of donor bodies and restructuring of blood economies. Specifically, we consider these themes in relation to the management of recent threats to blood safety in the United Kingdom. We show that the tension between securing the supply of blood and its products and ensuring its safety may give rise to ethical concerns and reshape relations between donor and recipient bodies.
biovalue; blood; donors; patients; risk; ‘tissue economies’
Blood is life. Transfusion of blood and blood components, as a specialized modality of patient management saves millions of lives worldwide each year and reduce morbidity. It is well known that blood transfusion is associated with a large number of complications, some are only trivial and others are potentially life threatening, demanding for meticulous pretransfusion testing and screening particularly for transfusion transmissible infections (TTI). These TTI are a threat to blood safety. The priority objective of BTS is thus to ensure safety, adequacy, accessibility and efficiency of blood supply at all levels. The objective of the present study was to assess the prevalence and trend of transfusion transmitted infections (TTI) among voluntary and replacement donors in the Department of Blood bank and transfusion Medicine of JSS College Hospital, a teaching hospital of Mysore during the period from 2004 to 2008. A retrospective review of donors record covering the period between 2004 and 2008 at the blood bank, JSS Hospital, Mysore was carried out. All samples were screened for HIV, HBsAg, HCV, syphilis and malaria. Of the 39,060, 25,303 (64.78%) were voluntary donors and the remaining 13,757 (35.22%) were replacement donors. The overall prevalence of HIV, HbsAg, HCV and syphilis were 0.44, 1.27, 0.23 and 0.28%, respectively. No blood donor tested showed positivity for malarial parasite. Majority were voluntary donors with male preponderance. In all the markers tested there was increased prevalence of TTI among the replacement donors as compared to voluntary donors. With the implementation of strict donor criteria and use of sensitive screening tests, it may be possible to reduce the incidence of TTI in the Indian scenario.
Transfusion transmitted infection; Human immunodeficiency virus; Hepatitis B virus; Hepatitis C virus; Syphilis; Malaria
Blood transfusion has always been an important route for Chagas Disease (CD) transmission. The high prevalence of CD in Latin America and its lifelong asymptomatic clinical picture pose a threat for the safety of the blood supply. The outcome of measures designed to improve transfusion safety can be assessed by evaluating the prevalence of CD among multitransfused patients
In order to assess the impact of CD control measures on the safety of the blood supply, an observational cross-sectional study was designed to determine the prevalence of CD in 351 highly transfused patients, in which vectorial transmission was excluded. This study compared patients that received transfusion products before (n = 230) and after (n = 121) 1997, when measures to control transfusion-transmitted CD were fully implemented in Brazil.
The study group consisted of 351 patients exposed to high numbers of blood products during their lifetime (median number of units transfused = 51, range 10–2086). A higher prevalence of transfusion-transmitted CD (1.30%) was observed among multitransfused patients that received their first transfusion before 1997, compared with no cases of transfusion-transmitted CD among multitransfused patients transfused after that year. The magnitude of the exposure to blood products was similar among both groups (mean number of units transfused per year of exposure = 25.00 ± 26.46 and 23.99 ± 30.58 respectively; P = 0.75, Mann-Whitney test).
Multiple initiatives aimed to control vector and parental transmission of CD can significantly decrease transfusion-transmitted CD in Brazil. Our data suggest that mandatory donor screening for CD represents the most important measure to interrupt transmission of CD by blood transfusions.
Serological safety is an integral part of overall safety for blood banks. Emphasis is on the use of routinue Red Blood Cell (RBC) antibody screen test, at set time intervals, to reduce risks related to alloantibodies. Also emphasis is on importance of issuing antigen negative blood to alloantibody positive patients. Effect of using leucodepleted blood on the rate of alloimmunization is highlighted. The concept of provision of phenotypically matched blood is suggested.
Materials and Methods:
Antibody screen test is important to select appropriate blood for transfusion. Repeat antibody screen testing, except if time interval between the earlier and subsequent transfusion was less than 72 hours, followed by antibody identification, if required, was performed in patients being treated with repeat multiple blood transfusions. Between February 2008 and June 2009, repeat samples of 306 multi-transfused patients were analyzed. Search for irregular antibodies and reading of results was conducted using RBC panels (three-cell panel of Column Agglutination Technology (CAT) and two cell panel of the Solid Phase Red Cell Adherence Technology (SPRCAT). Specificities of antibodies were investigated using appropriate panels, 11 cell panel of CAT and 16 cell panel of SPRCA. These technologies, detecting agglutination in columns and reactions in solid phase, evaluate the attachment of irregular incomplete antibody to antigen in the first phase of immunological reaction more directly and hence improve the reading of agglutination. Three to four log leuco reduced red blood cells were transfused to patients in the study using blood collection bags with integral filters.
Alloimmunization rate of 4.24% was detected from 306 multiply transfused patients tested and followed up. The Transfusion therapy may become significantly complicated.
Red cell antibody screening and identification and subsequent issue of antigen negative blood have a significant role in improving blood safety. Centers that have incorporated antibody screen test and identification have ensured safe transfusion. Identified patients should be flagged in a database and information shared. Such patients can be given carry-on cards and educated about the names of the identified antibodies. Full red cell phenotyping of individuals, patients and donors, can be feasibility.
Antibody screen Test; antibody identification; cell panel
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is emerging as a potential threat to blood safety after several cases of transmission by transfusion or transplantation have been described. Currently, blood donors in India are not screened for HEV. The studies conducted on HEV in recent times in India have focused on epidemiology and future perspectives, but there is no published study on blood donors. To address possible issues surrounding blood safety and risk of HEV transmission within the Indian blood supply, HEV seroprevalence study was conducted in blood donors at our center.
Materials and Methods:
A total of 460 male voluntary blood donors were selected for the study and after taking their written consent. Serum anti-HEV IgM was detected by Dia.Pro HEV kit (Diagnostic Bioprobes Srl, Milano, Italy).
The study population was composed of 460 male voluntary blood donors and their age ranged from 18 to 60 years with a mean age of 30.48 years. Out of 460 donors, 22 (4.78%) donors were tested positive for IgM anti-HEV and the mean value alanine aminotransferase (ALT) was 26.06 IU/L, the highest being 93.5 IU/L. Normal reference value of ALT in our center was 40 IU/L. Out of 22 anti-HEV positive donors, 19 (86.36%) had ALT values above 40 IU/L.
HEV seroprevalence of 4.78% in our center. Though reports of HEV transmission through blood has been reported from various parts of the world, before making it as a mandatory screening test among blood donors in India, further studies with confirmatory assay of HEV need to be done.
Blood donors; hepatitis E virus; seroprevalence
Several studies have demonstrated a link between blood viscosity and various forms of liver dysfunction. Therefore, we investigated the effect of liver
protective herbal materials, Sesamin combined with extract of Schisandra chinensis berry (Schisandra) for its potential to improve blood fluidity in
humans. Ten human subjects were recruited to study the effect of sesamin combined with schisandra extract (SCH) for two weeks on blood viscosity. Blood
fluidity was measured as the transit time for 100μl of heparinized whole blood to pass through a micro-channel array setup at baseline, 1 week and 2 weeks.
For safety assessment, blood biochemistry, hematology and urine analysis were taken at baseline, 1 week and 2 weeks after SCH administration. No safety
concern and adverse effects were observed during the 2-week continuous intake period. Intake of SCH reduced blood passage time by 9.0% and 9.7% at 1 and 2 weeks,
respectively. In conclusion, this pilot clinical study indicates that the combined administration of sesamin with schisandra extract could improve blood fluidity
after 1 week of oral intake and this effect was sustained up to 2 weeks.
Schisandra chinensis; sesamin; blood fluidity; blood passage time; micro-channel array
Overall contamination (on- plus off-streak) of the Isolator (Du Pont Co.) blood culture tube (23%) was greater than that of a conventional broth blood culture bottle (0.6%) or that of a biphasic blood culture bottle (1.3%). To determine the source of this contamination, Isolator cultures of blood from 59 healthy volunteers and of sterile broth from 60 vials were made. A total of 37% of the blood cultures and 22% of the broth cultures were contaminated (P = 0.06). Staphylococcus epidermidis-contaminated cultures represented 31 and 10% of the blood and broth cultures, respectively (P = 0.06). Contamination of plates processed on a bench top, in front of horizontal laminar flow, and in a biological safety cabinet with vertical laminar flow were compared. Processing plates in a biological safety cabinet resulted in a significant reduction in the number of contaminated plates (P less than 0.05). The contamination rate for 7,874 Isolator blood cultures processed in the biological safety cabinet was significantly decreased to 6.7% on-streak (9.3% on- plus off-streak). Contamination of Isolator-processed blood cultures originated from the laboratory and the patient. The former can be reduced by inoculating plates in a vertical laminar flow biological safety cabinet and by maintaining adequate quality control of media. The latter may be unavoidable.
Voluntary donation is a key issue in transfusion medicine. To ensure the safety of blood transfusions, careful donor selection is important. Although new approaches to blood safety have dramatically reduced the risks for infectious contamination of blood components, the quality and the availability of blood components depend on the willingness to donate and the reliability of the information given by the donors about their own health, including risk behavior. As donors who are deferred by the blood bank will be less motivated to return for donation, it is important to reduce the number of deferrals. The aims of the present study were to investigate the reasons for deferral of registered donors coming to the blood bank for donation, in order to identify areas of importance for donor education—as these deferrals potentially could be avoided by better donor comprehension. Deferral related to testing of donors is not included in this study as these deferrals are dependent on laboratory results and cannot be indentified by questionnaire or interview. Data were collected from all blood donors in a period for 18 months who came for blood donation at a large university hospital in Norway. 1 163 of the 29 787 regular donors, who showed up for donation, were deferred (3.9%). The main reasons were intercurrent illness (n = 182) (15.6%), skin ulcers (n = 170) (14.6%), and risk behaviour (n = 127) (10.9%). In a community, intercurrent illnesses, skin ulcers, and potential risk behavior are the most frequent reasons for deferral of regular donors. Strategized effort on donor education is needed, as “failure to donate” reduces donor motivation.
Increasing blood supply safety is one of the most important goals of blood services in the world. In this study, we reviewed the prevalence rate and the trends of three main infections in whole blood donations and strategies for improving blood safety in Yazd blood transfusion center, Iran.
Materials and Methods
In this cross sectional study, data on hepatitis B, C and HIV infection were extracted from Iranian Donor Database of blood donation from 2004 to 2010 in Yazd province. All donors with positive confirmatory test were included. The data was analyzed by SPSS software due to demographic factors.
The prevalence rate of hepatitis B, C and HIV infection decreased during these years (From 0.37%, 0.14% and 0 percent in 2004 to 0.14%, 0.05% and 0 in 2010, respectively). Both hepatitis B and C infections were significantly more in first-time blood donors with BSc or BA educational level. The prevalence rate of hepatitis B was significantly higher in donors with less than 20 year-old and female donors. The prevalence rate of hepatitis C was higherin30-39 age group (P-value= 0.014).
The results showed that the strategies used for improving blood safety were efficient. Increasing public knowledge on blood-borne infections and their routes of transmission, importance of donating blood only by healthy donors are necessary to have a safe blood supply in future.
Prevalence; HIV; HCV; Blood Donors; Iran
Unsafe reuse of injection equipment in hospitals is an on-going threat to patient safety in many parts of Africa. The extent of this problem is difficult to measure. Standard WHO injection safety assessment protocols used in the 2003 national injection safety assessment in Cameroon are problematic because health workers often behave differently under the observation of visitors. The main objective of this study is to assess the extent of unsafe injection equipment reuse and potential for blood-borne virus transmission in Cameroon. This can be done by probing for misconceptions about injection safety that explain reuse without sterilization. These misconceptions concern useless precautions against cross-contamination, i.e. "indirect reuse" of injection equipment. To investigate whether a shortage of supply explains unsafe reuse, we compared our survey data against records of purchases.
All health workers at public hospitals in two health districts in the Northwest Province of Cameroon were interviewed about their own injection practices. Injection equipment supply purchase records documented for January to December 2009 were compared with self-reported rates of syringe reuse. The number of HIV, HBV and HCV infections that result from unsafe medical injections in these health districts is estimated from the frequency of unsafe reuse, the number of injections performed, the probability that reused injection equipment had just been used on an infected patient, the size of the susceptible population, and the transmission efficiency of each virus in an injection.
Injection equipment reuse occurs commonly in the Northwest Province of Cameroon, practiced by 44% of health workers at public hospitals. Self-reported rates of syringe reuse only partly explained by records on injection equipment supplied to these hospitals, showing a shortage of syringes where syringes are reused. Injection safety interventions could prevent an estimated 14-336 HIV infections, 248-661 HBV infections and 7-114 HCV infections each year in these health districts.
Injection safety assessments that probe for indirect reuse may be more effective than observational assessments. The autodisable syringe may be an appropriate solution to injection safety problems in some hospitals in Cameroon. Advocacy for injection safety interventions should be a public health priority.
Medical tourism involves patients’ intentional travel to privately obtain medical care in another country. Empirical evidence regarding health and safety risks facing medical tourists is limited. Consideration of this issue is dominated by speculation and lacks meaningful input from people with specific expertise in patient health and safety. We consulted with patient health and safety experts in the Canadian province of British Columbia to explore their views concerning risks that medical tourists may be exposed to. Herein, we report on the findings, linking them to existing ethical and legal issues associated with medical tourism.
We held a focus group in September 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia with professionals representing different domains of patient health and safety expertise. The focus group was transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically.
Seven professionals representing the domains of tissue banking, blood safety, health records, organ transplantation, dental care, clinical ethics and infection control participated.
Five dominant health and safety risks for outbound medical tourists were identified by participants: (1) complications; (2) specific concerns regarding organ transplantation; (3) transmission of antibiotic-resistant organisms; (4) (dis)continuity of medical documentation and (5) (un)informed decision-making.
Concern was expressed that medical tourism might have unintended and undesired effects upon patients’ home healthcare systems. The individual choices of medical tourists could have significant public consequences if healthcare facilities in their home countries must expend resources treating postoperative complications. Participants also expressed concern that medical tourists returning home with infections, particularly antibiotic-resistant infections, could place others at risk of exposure to infections that are refractory to standard treatment regimens and thereby pose significant public health risks.
Despite importance of blood transfusion services as life saving procedures, some countries are unable to meet their national requirements for blood and blood components in a timely manner. Since establishment of Iran Blood Transfusion Organization (IBTO) in 1974 as an integral part of national health system, Iran has experienced a drastic improvement both in availability and safety of blood and blood products. Iran now has not only reached to a 100% non remunerated voluntary blood donation but also secured a national self sufficiency of blood and blood components. Efforts of IBTO as the sole player of transfusion medicines in Iran enabled the country for timely providing of life saving blood transfusion services for all Iranian patients in need of such services. In order to meet the country’s demand in 2011 about 2 million units of whole blood for a population of about 75 million collected by IBTO. This indicates 26.2 donations per 1000 population. Currently about 94% of blood donors in Iran are 25–35 years old males and contribution of female donors in blood donation is less than 6%. IBTO screen all donated blood for important transfusion transmissible infections such as HBV, HIV, HCV and syphilis. Prevalence of HBsAg, HCV and HIV in donated blood in IBTO in 2011 was 0.20%, 0.06% and 0.004% respectively.
Iran Blood Transfusion Organization; Blood safety; Blood donation
Generally, the safety of transfusion terapies for patients depends in part on the distribution of the blood products. The prevention of adverse events can be aided by technological means, which, besides improving the traceability of the process, make errors less likely. In this context, the latest frontier in automation and computerisation is the remote-controlled, automated refrigerator for blood storage.
Materials and methods
Computer cross-matching is an efficient and safe method for assigning blood components, based on Information Technology applied to typing and screening. This method can be extended to the management of an automated blood refrigerator, the programme of which is interfaced with the Transfusion Service’s information system. The connection we made in our Service between EmoNet® and Hemosafe® enables real-time, remote-controlled management of the following aspects of blood component distribution: a) release of autologous and allogeneic units already allocated to a patient, b) release of available units, which can be allocated by remote-control to known patients, in the presence of a valid computer cross-match, c) release of O-negative units of blood for emergencies.
Our system combines an information database, which enables computer cross-matching, with an automated refrigerator for blood storage with controlled access managed remotely by the Transfusion Service. The effectiveness and safety of the system were validated during the 4 months of its routine use in the Transfusion Service’s outpatient department.
The safety and efficiency of the distribution of blood products can and must be increased by the use of technological innovations. With the EmoNet®/Hemosafe® system, the responsibility for the remote-controlled distribution of red blood cell concentrates remains with the chief of the Transfusion Services, through the use of automated computer procedures and supported by continuous training of technicians and nursing staff.
transfusion safety; remote-control; computer cross-match
We screened blood donors in one center in Saudi Arabia for a safety transfusion. We found that among 5043 blood donors negative for HCV and HIV, the incidence of HBsAg positivity was 2.97%. When antiHBc antibody was measured (HBcIg) in HBsAg negative donors, we observed that 21.47% were positive indicating previous exposure to hepatitis B virus. The HBcIg positive blood was further screened for HBsAb and the specimens were found to be reactive in 81.54%. Based on these data blood transfusion was permissible from donors who showed HBsAg negativity, HBcIg positive and HBsAb reactive blood. In order to ensure safety transfusion an aliquot of specimens (n = 80) was further analyzed for HBV DNA by PCR. We found only one specimen positive with incidence of 1.25%. So we recommended restricting transfusion from the previously mentioned donors to emergencies.
blood units; HBsAg; HBcIg; HBV DNA; Saudi