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Effects of a Restrictive Blood Transfusion Policy on Outcomes in Children With Burn Injury

Palmieri, Tina L. MD; Lee, Terry MT (ASCP); O’Mara, Michael S. MD; Greenhalgh, David G. MD

doi: 10.1097/BCR.0B013E31802C895E
Original Articles: 2006 ABA Papers

A restrictive blood transfusion policy decreases blood utilization and improves outcomes in critically ill adults, but the impact of a restrictive blood transfusion policy in critically ill children is unclear. The study purpose was to compare the effects of a restrictive with a traditional blood transfusion policy in children with major burn injury. A retrospective review of all blood transfusions administered in a pediatric burn center during a 5-year period was conducted. Children in the traditional group (January 1, 2000, to June 30, 2002), were transfused at a hemoglobin level of less than 10 g/dl. Children in the restrictive group (January 1, 2003, to June 30, 2005, 6 months after the adoption of a restrictive protocol) were transfused at a hemoglobin level of less than 7 g/dl. Patient groups were compared for demographics, ventilator requirements, blood transfusion number, transfusion costs, and outcomes. Of the 1140 patients studied, 266 (24%) received a total of 2577 units of blood. There was no difference in age, TBSA burn, sex, inhalation injury, or mortality between groups. Patients in the traditional group received more blood than the restrictive group (12.3 ± 1.8 vs 7.2 ± 1.2 units/patient, P < .001). The mean cost of blood per patient was $2781 for the traditional group and $1489 for the restrictive group. A restrictive transfusion policy in children with burn injury decreases the amount of blood transfused, does not adversely impact patient outcome, and results in significant cost savings to the institution.

From the Shriners Hospital for Children Northern California, Sacramento, California.

Presented at the 38th Annual Meeting of the American Burn Association, April 4–7, 2006, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Address correspondence to Tina L. Palmieri, MD, FACS, Shriners Hospital for Children Northern California, 2425 Stockton Boulevard, Suite 718, Sacramento, California 95616.

Presented at the meeting of the American Burn Association, Las Vegas, Nevada, April 4 to 7, 2006.

© 2007 The American Burn Association