Tailoring the Blood Ordering Process for Cardiac Surgical Cases Using an Institution-Specific Version of the Maximum Surgical Blood Order Schedule

Semin Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth. 2016 Mar;20(1):93-9. doi: 10.1177/1089253215573327. Epub 2015 Feb 26.


Background: Excess ordering of blood products for surgical cases is expensive and wasteful. Evidence has shown that institution-specific versions of the Maximum Surgical Blood Order Schedule (MSBOS) lead to better ordering practices. Most MSBOSs recommend a crossmatch for a minimum of 2 units of packed red blood cells (PRBCs) for cardiac surgical cases; however, studies have shown that >50% of these patients receive no transfusions. Our aim was to create a blood order algorithm for cardiac surgical cases that would decrease unnecessary crossmatching.

Methods: Retrospective data was collected for 264 patients from January 2011 through April 2012. The crossmatch-to-transfusion ratio (C:tx), transfusion probability (%T), and transfusion index (TI) were calculated for each type of procedure.

Results: All 264 patients were crossmatched and 98 patients were transfused, resulting in an overall transfusion probability (%T) of 37.12% (95% confidence interval 31.52-43.09). A total of 1175 units of blood were crossmatched, but only 370 units of blood were transfused, resulting in a C:tx of 3.17 (95% confidence interval 2.61-4.03). The average number of units transfused per procedure (transfusion index) was 1.40. C:tx was highest and TI was lowest for CABG, where approximately 11 units of blood were ordered for every 1 unit transfused (C:tx =11.70 ± 3.04), and the TI was 0.32.

Conclusions: Using the gold standard C:tx of >2:1 as an indicator of inappropriate blood utilization, our analysis confirmed that excessive crossmatching occurred for several procedures. Now a subset of cardiac surgical cases only requires a type and screen order prior to surgery.

Keywords: blood loss; cardiac surgery; cardiopulmonary bypass; transfusion.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Blood Grouping and Crossmatching
  • Blood Loss, Surgical
  • Blood Transfusion / methods*
  • Blood Transfusion / statistics & numerical data
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / statistics & numerical data
  • Cardiopulmonary Bypass / methods
  • Cardiopulmonary Bypass / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Heart Transplantation / methods
  • Hematocrit
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies