Objective: Many neurosurgical cases are done without the need for blood transfusion, yet blood is unnecessarily cross-matched, resulting in wasted resources. This study was undertaken to document and compare the number of units of blood components requested, cross-matched and transfused in neurosurgical cases at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI).
Methods: A prospective, observational study was undertaken over one year. Data collected for each patient included demographic information, relevant perioperative data, and blood banking data including blood components requested, cross-matched and transfused. Data were analysed using SPSS version 16.
Results: Data were analysed on 152 patients, 71 females (46.7%) and 81 males (53.3%). The mean age was 48.7 ± 19.6 years and 100 of the procedures were done electively (65.8%). Blood components were ordered in 114 (75%) cases, red cells more commonly in 113 (74.3%) patients, and plasma in 19 (12.5%) patients. Overall, 20 patients (13.2%) were transfused. Most patients (90.9%) needed one to two units of blood. Of the 236 units of blood components that were cross-matched or prepared, only 62 were transfused. The cross-match/preparation to transfusion ratio (CTR/PTR) was 6.00 for red cells and 1.31 for plasma. Preoperative haemoglobin ≤ 10.0 g/dL (p = 0.001), estimated blood loss of ≥ 1 litre (p < 0.001), higher American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) physical status score (p < 0.03) and a resident as lead surgeon (p < 0.05), were significant predictors of blood transfusion.
Conclusion: The transfusion rate was low with a high cross-match to transfusion ratio, suggesting that less cross-matching is needed. A new approach to blood ordering for neurosurgical cases is recommended.