Examining knowledge translation in blood donor research: A review of vasovagal reaction literature

Transfusion. 2021 Apr 2. doi: 10.1111/trf.16391. Online ahead of print.


Background: Knowledge translation focuses on the transfer of research findings into policy and practice. To provide insight into the state of knowledge translation in blood donor research, we undertook a rapid review of a key research area in the field with high potential for translation, vasovagal reactions (VVRs). We examined the number and nature of VVR-related studies to determine the availability of research evidence, and mapped the included articles along the research-to-practice trajectory using the Knowledge to Action framework.

Study design and methods: PubMed, PsycINFO, CINAHL, and EMBASE were searched for peer-reviewed journal articles from inception to October 2019 using the terms blood don* AND vasovagal OR faint* OR syncope.

Results: A total of 176 articles met our inclusion criteria. Studies relating to VVRs increased substantially from 1942 to 2019, with 84% published in the last 20 years. Articles were predominately observation (non-intervention) studies (117; 66%), followed by intervention (knowledge inquiry) studies (31; 18%) and review (knowledge synthesis) studies (20; 11%). The evidence from intervention research was limited, with 14 strategies tested in 31 studies and often by the same research groups. Only 5 (3%) implementation and evaluation studies were found; all focused on evaluating the effects of a newly introduced intervention on VVR rates through uncontrolled or cross-sectional study designs.

Discussion: VVR research is in the early stages of knowledge translation. More intervention research is needed to provide a robust evidence base as well as more published implementation research to share knowledge of translating research into policy and practice.

Keywords: blood donation; knowledge to action framework; knowledge translation; rapid review; vasovagal reaction.

Publication types

  • Review