Our work provides data on effective transfusion practice, identifies the most effective products for certain clinical settings and helps us understand how products that are in high demand are used, such as O negative red cells.
During 2015-2016, our researchers and their collaborators at the Kolling Institute and the Clinical Excellence Commission completed a four-year study to improve the medical treatment of mothers who bleed during childbirth. The study helps doctors make better decisions on when they should give blood transfusions. We looked at whether the quantities of blood given were appropriate, whether that blood was given under the right conditions, and what the outcomes were. By understanding how blood is being used, we can help inform guidelines for clinical practice.
Does removing white cells make transfusion safer?
One undesirable outcome associated with blood transfusion is the persistence of donor white cells in the transfusion recipient, known as microchimerism. This condition is a significant risk for multiply transfused patients. Since 2008, white blood cells have been removed from red blood cell units by filtration before transfusion (leucodepletion) to minimise this risk. Despite the introduction of leucodepletion, microchimerism still occurs in massively transfused patients. Studies are underway to find out the characteristics of the white cells which remain in filtered red blood cell units to better understand how microchimerism develops.