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Asian J Transfus Sci. 2019 Jul-Dec;13(2):100-104. doi: 10.4103/ajts.AJTS_110_17. Epub 2019 Dec 3.

Reversal of warfarin-coagulopathy: How to improve plasma transfusion practice in a community hospital setting?

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1
Department of Medicine and Pathology, Monmouth Medical Center, Long Branch, NJ, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Plasma is often given inappropriately to reverse warfarin-induced coagulopathy, wasting health-care resources and exposing the patients to transfusion-associated risks.

AIMS:

The clinical practice at our institution was evaluated in order to reduce the number of unnecessary plasma transfusions.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Retrospective audit of plasma transfusions was done (July 2014 to June 2015).

DESIGN:

To improve the clinical practice, a two-prong strategy was implemented: (1) in-service was given to clinicians on the warfarin-reversal guidelines and (2) for a 30-day period, plasma orders were placed on the approval list of the Transfusion Medicine Service.

RESULTS:

Of the 729 units of plasma, 189 (26% of total) were given for the reversal of warfarin-induced coagulopathy. The medical charts of these patients were reviewed: 46 units of plasma (~25%) were given inappropriately (e.g., patients with minimally elevated international normalized ratio, no evidence of bleeding, and no surgery within 24 h). To check the effectiveness of our intervention, two audits of plasma transfusions were done. During the first audit (January 1-February 29, 2016), 24 patients received plasma to reverse warfarin-coagulopathy. Medical chart review revealed that the vast majority of plasma orders (96.66%) followed the guidelines. A second audit was carried out a year later (January 1-March 31, 2017): during this 3-month period, 47 patients were transfused with plasma for warfarin reversal with a 94% adherence to the guidelines.

CONCLUSION:

We conclude that plasma transfusion practices may be improved by a combination of education and active enforcement of warfarin reversal guidelines.

KEYWORDS:

Audit of transfusion practices; physician education; plasma; warfarin reversal

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