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Transfusion practice in anemic, non-bleeding patients: Cross-sectional survey of physicians working in general internal medicine teaching hospitals in Switzerland

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von Babo, M., Chmiel, C., Muggler, S. A., Rakusa, J., Schuppli, C., Meier, P., et al. (2018). Transfusion practice in anemic, non-bleeding patients: Cross-sectional survey of physicians working in general internal medicine teaching hospitals in Switzerland. PLOS ONE, 13(1): e0191752. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0191752.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-61CE-4
Abstract
Background Transfusion practice might significantly influence patient morbidity and mortality. Between European countries, transfusion practice of red blood cells (RBC) greatly differs. Only sparse data are available on transfusion practice of general internal medicine physicians in Switzerland. Methods In this cross-sectional survey, physicians working in general medicine teaching hospitals in Switzerland were investigated regarding their self-reported transfusion practice in anemic patients without acute bleeding. The definition of anemia, transfusion triggers, knowledge on RBC transfusion, and implementation of guidelines were assessed. Results 560 physicians of 71 hospitals (64%) responded to the survey. Anemia was defined at very diverging hemoglobin values (by 38% at a hemoglobin <130 g/L for men and by 57% at <120 g/L in non-pregnant women). 62% and 43% respectively, did not define anemia in men and in women according to the World Health Organization. Fifty percent reported not to transfuse RBC according to international guidelines. Following factors were indicated to influence the decision to transfuse: educational background of the physicians, geographical region of employment, severity of anemia, and presence of known coronary artery disease. 60% indicated that their knowledge on Transfusion-related Acute Lung Injury (TRALI) did not influence transfusion practice. 50% of physicians stated that no local transfusion guidelines exist and 84% supported the development of national recommendations on transfusion in non-acutely bleeding, anemic patients. Conclusion This study highlights the lack of adherence to current transfusion guidelines in Switzerland. Identifying and subsequently correcting this deficit in knowledge translation may have a significant impact on patient care.