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Transfus Med. 2008 Apr;18(2):121-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3148.2007.00817.x.

How often should a red blood cell administration set be changed while a patient is being transfused? A commentary and review of the literature.

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National Health Service Blood and Transplant, Birmingham, UK.


Current recommendations vary with regard to the frequency of change of a red blood cell (RBC) administration set. A full review was undertaken to evaluate the recommendations for how often a RBC administration set should be changed while a patient is being transfused. Comprehensive searches of Medline, Embase, Cinahl, the Cochrane Library, handsearching of transfusion journals, guidelines and websites and contact with administration set manufacturers identified 32 relevant papers: 11 clinical updates; 11 guidelines; 5 manufacturer data sheets; 3 standards; 1 Department of Health report and 1 expert opinion. Recommendations varied widely across papers. There was no pattern in recommendation by paper type, date or country of origin. Recommendations were based on change of RBC administration set either after a given number of hours or number of RBC units. The recommendations varied widely and ranged from 4 to 48 h and from 'every unit' to 'several units'. The most frequent recommendations were change of RBC administration set after 12 h or 4 units. Methodological quality of the included papers is poor. There is no formal evidence base on which to support current recommendations or challenge the current British Committee for Standards in Haematology guideline. Targeted research aimed at establishing an evidence base may be warranted and would need to document other variables that can impact frequency of change, including type of filter, age of blood and duration of RBC transfusion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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