Patient Blood Management Landmark Study Sets a New Standard

BASEL, Switzerland, June 10, 2017  

The June 2017 issue of the medical journal Transfusion has published an editorial by one of Europe’s leading anesthesiologists, Professor Donat R. Spahn, MD, from the Institute of Anesthesiology, University Hospital of Zurich, Switzerland. The editorial titled “Patient Blood Management: The New Standard” comments on multiple findings in a landmark study from Australia published in the same issue (view journal here). Prof Spahn states: “The Western Australia Department of Health should be congratulated for their courageous and visionary decision 10 years ago to support this statewide Patient Blood Management (PBM) program and the local champions for implementing the program for many years.” 

This study’s findings and the accompanying editorial provide strong additional scientific support for the recent decision by the European Commission to publish two guides on the implementation of Patient Blood Management (PBM). One is addressed to national authorities and the other guide is for hospitals. The International Foundation for Patient Blood Management (IFPBM) defines this new standard of care as “an evidence-based bundle of care to optimize medical and surgical patient outcomes by clinically managing and preserving a patient’s blood.”  

Dr Spahn’s editorial provides commentary on the impressive data in the 6-year study of the outcomes of a comprehensive health-system wide PBM program in Western Australia, the world’s largest PBM study to date. It included 605,046 patients admitted to Western Australia’s four major adult tertiary-care hospitals, with results showing a 28% reduction in hospital mortality, a 15% reduction in average hospital length of stay, a 21% decrease in hospital-acquired infections (transfused patients are more susceptible to infection) and a 31% decrease in the incidence of heart attack or stroke. The use of blood products was reduced by 41% during the study period. Dr Spahn’s editorial additionally states, “Cost savings were also most remarkable.”

The study reports blood product acquisition cost savings of more than US$18 million over the 6-year period. When the cost of administering blood in the hospitals is added, the gross cost savings were calculated to be up to US$97 million over the 6 years. However, taking all factors into consideration, Professor Spahn predicts that the total cost saving may be closer to US$29 million per year. Professor James Isbister, Sydney University Medical School and Senior Advisor to IFPBM stated, “IFPBM is very pleased to have Donat R. Spahn MD, an internationally respected leader in the field, concisely capture the findings of this landmark study and its global implications. We look forward to seeing Patient Blood Management implemented in hospitals and medical centers of excellence from Australia to Europe and continue to expand into other counties, greatly improving patient care and substantially lowering health care costs.” 

The editorial concluded by stating, “This program is clearly number one worldwide and as such has set new standards.”

About Professor Donat Spahn, MD

Professor and Chairman, Institute of Anesthesiology, University Hospital Zurich and Head Medical, Section Anesthesiology, Intensive Care Medicine and OR-Management, University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland.

Professor Spahn is an examiner of the Swiss Board of Anesthesiology and the European Academy of Anaesthesiology and a WHO Consultant. He has published over 300 articles in medical literature, 12 medical text books, authored over 40 text book chapters, does editorial work for 10 medical journals, is a regular reviewer for numerous medical journals, a member of many expert committees, and the recipient of multiple prizes and awards for his scientific work.