Capital region hospitals reducing their use of donor blood

Experts question country’s propensity for transfusions

In July, the health authority Sundhedsstyrelsen recommended that hospitals reduce the use of blood transfusions with donated blood, and now hospitals in the Capital Region are taking concrete steps to follow through on this advice, DR Nyheder reports.

READ MORE: Jehovah's Witnesses helping hospitals to limit transfusions

Astrid Nørgaard, the senior doctor responsible for blood management at the Capital Region, explained the reasoning in a press release from the Copenhagen hospital, Rigspospitalet.

”In Denmark we use far too much blood – we overtransfuse,” she said.

”Compared to countries like Norway, Finland, the Netherlands and France, we give double the amount of blood per 1,000 citizens – about 70 portions. The problem is that this practice doesn’t have a documented positive effect – either for the patients’ survival rate or the health system as a whole."

Better planning
Rigshospitalet, Herlev Hospital and Nordsjællands Hospital in northern Zealand will now assess on a case-by-case basis before planned operations whether using donor blood is necessary.

”Even earlier in the patient’s treatment plan, we will target the use of blood to those patients that need it and avoid using blood where it’s not necessary,” said Nørgaard.

”For example, there’s scientific evidence that for patients with iron deficiency it is more appropriate to give them iron. Blood transfusions aren’t necessarily a good option here.”

DR Nyheder reports that it is expected, following a meeting of the regional health authorities, that it will be advised that work continues on reducing the use of donor blood.