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Use of blood products and artificial colloids in 43 European hospitals

Edited by : Girolamo Sirchia, Anna Maria Giovanetti, Brian Mc Clelland, Giovanni Nicola Fracchia


This book presents the contribution and outcome of an EC concerted action (CA) on the safe and effective use of blood surgery (Sanguis) conducted between January 1990 and June 1992 in 43 hospitals of 10 European Member States.

The objective of the CA was to assess transfusion practices in elective surgery, namely the use of red cells, whole blood, platelets, albumin and colloids in six different surgical interventions (cholecystectomy, hemicolectomy transurethral prostacectomy, coronary artery bypass graft, abdominal aorta aneurysmectomy, total hip replacement).

The results of the study show a surprisingly high variability among comparable surgical teams in the different participating hospitals.

Apart from the relevance that these results have for medical practice, this study has important economic and organizational implications.

For example, for the same intervention, the preoperative stay can be 10 times longer in some hospitals than in others, and transfusion resources can be used as much as 30 times more.

The study clearly demonstrates that the variability is not linked to biological factors, but rather to the attitude of the medical profession towards blood transfusion.

It is now a priority for all health systems to issue these guidelines in a more systematic way, and particularly to start collecting and analysing data in order to raise the concern of the single operator in the transfusion area, a high-cost sector where cost containment actions are becoming more and more urgent.


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BIOMED Publications | 08.02.2000