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Immunohematology. 2003;19(1):1-6.

Variations in pretransfusion practices.

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Canadian Blood Services, 8249-114 Street, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T6G 2R8.


A variety of pretransfusion tests have been developed to improve the safety and effectiveness of transfusion. Recently, a number of traditional tests have been shown to offer limited clinical benefit and have been eliminated in many facilities. A survey of pretransfusion test practices was distributed to 116 hospital transfusion services. Routine test practices and facility size were analyzed. Ninety-one responses were received. Many smaller laboratories include tests such as anti-A,B, an autocontrol, and DAT, and immediate spin and 37 degrees Celsius microscopic readings. Nine percent never perform an Rh control with anti-D typing on patient samples. Various antibody screening and crossmatch methods are utilized. Individual laboratory test practices should be periodically assessed to ensure that they comply with standards, represent the recognized best practice, and are cost-effective. The survey responses indicate that many laboratories perform tests that are not necessary or cost-effective. These facilities should review their processes to determine which tests contribute to transfusion safety. Smaller facilities may be reluctant to change or lack the expertise necessary for this decision making and often continue to perform tests that have been eliminated in larger facilities. Consultation with larger hospital transfusion services may provide guidance for this change.


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