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Transfusion. 2008 Oct;48(10):2252-63. doi: 10.1111/j.1537-2995.2008.01816.x. Epub 2008 Jul 8.

Management of blood shortages in a tertiary care academic medical center: the Yale-New Haven Hospital frozen blood reserve.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine, Yale University Medical School, Yale-New Haven Hospital, New Haven, CT 06504, USA.


Threats to national and local blood supplies in America mandate development of an effective blood management system for emergency preparedness and efficient blood inventory management. Seasonal or acute blood shortages could be compounded by the unavoidable distribution inefficiencies of the blood pipeline during an emergency. The Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH) Blood Bank has developed a comprehensive emergency blood management plan, which includes maintenance of a tactical, limited frozen blood supply. A computer spreadsheet-based disaster prediction model has been designed to guide the use of the frozen reserve by testing various emergency scenarios. The frozen blood reserve can likely support normal hospital red blood cell (RBC) demands during typical (3-4 days) seasonal shortages, provide a reduced supply for up to 10 days, or meet an unexpected transient increased RBC demand without requiring intensive support from the regional blood center. However, the frozen blood supply is not designed to meet the massive transfusion demand associated with extreme or sustained disasters. Rather, it serves as a short-term bridge-over supply until blood center support can be reestablished. We review the reasons for initiating a blood management plan and describe how YNHH has implemented and sustains a frozen blood reserve as part of a comprehensive disaster management plan. Despite the operational complexity, the benefits of self-sufficiency, the ability to support routine hospital requirements, and the security of having a backup supply justify the expense and difficulty of maintaining a frozen blood reserve.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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