Standardization of transfusion practice in organ donors using the Digital Intern, an electronic decision support algorithm

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Prospective clinical trials support restrictive thresholds for red blood cell (RBC) transfusion. Nonsurvivable donors are a major source of organs for transplantation. The Digital Intern (DI) is a computer algorithm to standardize donor care that includes a more restrictive transfusion threshold. The impact of standardized and restrictive RBC transfusion in organ donors, as determined by the DI, has not been reported.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS:

We conducted a retrospective cohort study to compare the transfusion practice of the DI (n = 100) to a historic group of physician-managed donors (n = 90). Transfusion rates, the number of units transfused, and pretransfusion laboratory values were compared between groups. The variability of these parameters was also compared between groups. Finally, the number of transplanted organs per donor in each group was compared.

RESULTS:

The mean time as a donor was 25.9 ± 15.2 hours and was not different between the groups. In the DI group 19% were transfused compared to 26% in the control group (p = 0.3). The number of units transfused was less in the DI group (1 unit vs. 2 units per transfusion, p = 0.03) and the pretransfusion hematocrit was lower in the DI group (23% vs. 27%, p = 0.01). The variability in the latter two parameters was significantly lower in the DI group. The number of transplanted organs per donor was similar in both groups (3.24 [DI] vs. 3.03 [control], p = 0.37).

CONCLUSION:

The DI provides a more standardization transfusion practice in organ donors and reduces blood use without compromising transplantable organs.

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