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Oncologist. 2011;16 Suppl 3:3-11. doi: 10.1634/theoncologist.2011-S3-3.

Five drivers shifting the paradigm from product-focused transfusion practice to patient blood management.

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Medical Society for Blood Management, Schlossplatz 14, 2361 Laxenburg, Austria.


The objective of this paper is to introduce clinicians and health care professionals to the concept of patient blood management (PBM) and to explain the difference between PBM and the concept of "appropriate use" of blood products. The five reasons why modern health systems need to shift from product-focused transfusion practice to PBM are also presented. These are: the aging population with a leveraged demand for blood products opposed to a shrinking donor base; the growing awareness that transfusion is a complex service involving many different cost centers within a hospital and representing a multiple of the blood product cost; the continuous effort to protect blood pools from known, new, or re-emerging pathogens while facing uncertainty over their potentially long silent carrier states; the emerging evidence that transfusion is an independent risk factor for adverse outcomes; and finally, a lack of evidence for benefit of transfusion for the vast majority of recipients.

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