Best practices for iatrogenic anaemia prevention in the intensive care unit: Blood-sparing techniques

Nurs Crit Care. 2024 Apr 23. doi: 10.1111/nicc.13084. Online ahead of print.


Anaemia is a common issue in patients who are admitted to intensive care units and worsens their condition throughout the stay due to the extraction of blood for diagnostic purposes. It is also well-known that an important amount of the carbon dioxide produced by health services is likely attributable to blood donation, testing and manufacture, storage or distribution of blood components. This must be taken into account to perform nursing interventions consistent with the idea of sustainable health care. In this regard, within patient blood management bundles, with the objective of minimizing the use of blood products, it is recommended to use blood-sparing techniques: small volume tubes (SVT) or closed-blood sampling devices (CBSD). Published studies before 2014 (excepting two more recent ones) have shown that by themselves, both techniques reduce drawn volume but do not decrease haemoglobin reduction and/or need of transfusion. Given the lack of cost-effectiveness studies, it may be easier to implement the use of CBSD as it does not require prior consensus on the discard volume or adaptations in the processing of laboratory tests, as is the case with SVT.

Keywords: anaemia prevention; blood‐sparing techniques; closed blood sampling devices; intensive care nursing; small volume tubes.

Publication types

  • Review