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Does the Use of an Infusion Pump for Red Blood Cells Increase Hemolysis?

Centrella-Nigro, Andrea, DNP, RN, CNE; Scarano, Joseph, MSN, RN; Ramraj, Nadine, BA, RN

doi: 10.1097/NAN.0000000000000305

Transfusions of red blood cells (RBCs) are frequently administered for a variety of clinical conditions. The use of an infusion pump has become common practice in nursing. Lack of evidence regarding hemolysis associated with transfusing older RBCs using an infusion pump led one 361-bed acute care suburban medical center to maintain its nursing policy to infuse all blood products by gravity. A combined simulated and clinical study was conducted with 25 units of RBCs. No significant hemolysis was demonstrated as measured by hemolysis index and serum potassium levels. As a result of this study, the nursing policy at the medical center was changed.

Holy Name Medical Center, Teaneck, New Jersey (Dr Centrella-Nigro, Mr Scarano, and Mrs Ramraj).

Corresponding Author: Andrea Centrella-Nigro, DNP, RN, CNE, Holy Name Medical Center, 718 Teaneck Road, Teaneck, NJ 07666 (

Andrea Centrella-Nigro, DNP, RN, CNE, is an evidence-based practice/research specialist at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, New Jersey.

Joseph Scarano, MSN, RN, is a stroke coordinator at Holy Name Medical Center.

Nadine Ramraj, BA, RN, is a clinical coordinator in the infusion center at Holy Name Medical Center.

The authors of this article have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

© Copyright 2018 by Infusion Nurses Society