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J Pediatr Surg. 2001 May;36(5):722-5.

Directed blood donation in pediatric general surgery: Is it worth it?

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Division of Pediatric General Surgery and the Department of Hematopathology, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



To date, there are no data to support the safety, efficacy, and cost-benefit ratio of donor-directed blood donation (DD). The objectives were to determine whether a DD program in pediatric general surgery practice is justified.


A retrospective analysis was conducted of the transfusion practice and all DD requests received by transfusion services in a full calendar year (1997) at a tertiary care pediatric hospital. The authors examined the donations, utilization, and possible benefits for the recipients.


A total of 22,527 units of blood were transfused in 1997. General surgery used 471 (2%) of the total and 471 of 4,825 (10%) of all surgical transfusions. Total DD requests were 219 with only 11 of 219 (5%) originating from the general surgery department. After all the exclusions, 133 of 219 (61%) requests had DD blood available. DD blood had a higher true-positive rate for transmissible disease (1.1% v 0.10%), high-risk activity (2.5% v 1.2%), and malaria risk (3.1% v 0.31%). Total utilization of DD blood was 132 of 236 units (55.9%) and general surgery utilized 4 of 11 (36.4%) of their directed donations. Thirty-seven patients (27.8%) benefited from decreased donor exposure. No general surgery patient received more than 1 blood component to benefit from decreased donor exposure.


DD deferral rates are higher than for volunteer donors for infectious disease markers, malaria, and high-risk activities. There is no evidence that DD is safer than volunteer donation. DD blood wastage of 63.6% is much higher than in volunteer donation (7%). Thirty-seven patients (28%) received multiple units from one donor suggesting a benefit from decreased donor exposure. Given the low frequency of transfusion and the poor utilization of DD in general surgical practice, a DD program is not justified.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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