Hong Kong Med J 2012;18:304–9 | Number 4, August 2012
Virtual blood banking in Hong Kong
KF Wong, Angela MY Kwan, Michael LG Wong, Clarence CK Lam, SC Yip
Department of Pathology, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Jordan, Hong Kong
OBJECTIVE. To review our experience in virtual blood banking for intra-operative transfusion in Hong Kong.
DESIGN. Retrospective study.
SETTING. Three major acute hospitals and a specialised centre for joint replacement surgery with installation of an Operating Theatre Blood Transaction System.
PATIENTS. Patients undergoing surgery under anaesthesia and requiring intra-operative transfusion for the period from the implementation of the system in individual institutes (Queen Elizabeth Hospital: June 1997; Princess Margaret Hospital: May 2001; Queen Mary Hospital: October 2009; and Hong Kong Buddhist Hospital: December 2010) till September 2011.
RESULTS. Under the system, 58 923 units of red cells were released intra-operatively for 18 264 patients (11% of the total number of blood units issued by the blood banks in these institutes during the study period). About 1% of them (613 units) entailed unmatched red cells given to 183 patients for emergency transfusions during surgery. The mean time required for the issue of the first unit of red cells was less than 1 minute. A total of 1231 units of red cells were returned unused after being released. Among them, 95 units were deemed unfit for re-issue because they had left the temperature-monitored blood storage refrigerators in the operating theatres for more than 30 minutes. There was no delay in transfusion or postponement of surgery due to problems or downtime of the Operating Theatre Blood Transaction System.
CONCLUSION. Our experience has shown that our virtual blood banking system was efficient and effective, and helped ensure that the right patient received the right amount of the right blood at the right time. The system can be implemented either locally in the same hospital with a central blood bank, or in a more remote and networked site without a nearby supporting blood bank.
Key words: Blood banks; Blood grouping and crossmatching; Blood transfusion; Intraoperative care; Medical informatics
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