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Increasing and disseminating the evidence-base to improve practice in Transfusion Medicine.

Blood transfusion

We have established three groups to achieve our aim.

Systematic Review Initiative (SRI)

The SRI’s remit is to develop the evidence base for the practice of transfusion medicine. We do this by: producing systematic reviews; and creating a comprehensive online library of systematic reviews and randomised controlled trials (the Transfusion Evidence Library).

Our systematic reviews are produced according to strict methodological criteria. Approximately a third are undertaken with Cochrane whilst the remainder are published in appropriate peer reviewed journals. Our reviews provide evidence for national and international clinical guidelines (including NICE, ICTMG, BSH) and inform clinical practice and research agendas.

We hold an NIHR Cochrane Programme grant for the completion of a set of reviews on the safe and appropriate use of blood components.

The Transfusion Evidence Library is fully searchable and updated monthly. The library produces a free monthly email alert, the Transfusion Evidence Alert, which is received by over 14,000 subscribers.

Clinical Trials

A number of our clinical trials have originated from the output of our systematic reviews: tranexamic acid to prevent bleeding in haematology patients (TREATT); red cell transfusion thresholds in gastrointestinal bleeding (TRIGGER); prophylactic platelet transfusions in haematology patients (TOPPS); granulocyte transfusions in neutropenic sepsis (GIN-1) and plasma use in critical care (ISOC).

Our trials have been published in the NEJM and Lancet (use of prophylactic platelet transfusions in patients with haematological malignancies, red cells in gastrointestinal bleeding and Age of Blood in critical care). Other notable examples of research include the completion of a 50,000 participant INTERVAL trial (donation intervals); publication of a GWAS study of blood traits in 180,000 subjects; a £2million NIHR award on the development and evaluation of enhanced audit and feedback interventions to increase the uptake of evidence-based transfusion practice (AFFINITIE); and a trial evaluating the effects of early high-dose cryoprecipitate in adults with major trauma haemorrhage (CRYOSTAT-2).

Use of IT for safe and effective transfusion practice

Our group has developed and implemented a unique ‘end-to-end’ electronic (paperless) transfusion process. This process utilises barcoded patient wristbands, bedside handhelds, electronically controlled blood fridges and integration with the electronic patient record and laboratory IT. It has improved the safety and efficiency of transfusion, and delivered cost savings in reduced blood usage for Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH) of £870k in the last three years. This contributed to OUH being recognised as Digital Hospital of the Year 2015. The process is used in all acute hospitals in Oxfordshire, and is being implemented in other countries including the USA and Australia.

Our group produced a national specification for the use of IT for transfusion, and has won several national awards, including the 2013 Health Service Journal Awards for Improving Care in Technology and Efficiency in Pathology. It was endorsed as a NICE 'Quality and Productivity’ Case Study in 2016, and highlighted by the Chief Medical Officer in her 2015 NIHR Annual Report as a ‘foolproof way of ensuring transfusion safety with potential savings of more than £50 million/year if implemented across the NHS’.

Our team

Selected publications

Lab alumni

Dr Sarah Hearnshaw

Consultant Gastroenterologist, Department of Gastroenterology

The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals, NHS Foundation Trust.

PI for upcoming study of tranexamic acid in GI bleeding.

Dr Nikki Curry

Consultant Haematologist, Oxford Haemophilia and Thrombosis Centre, Oxford University Hospitals, NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr Vip Jairath

Clinical Lecturer, University of Oxford. And from 2016: Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Western Ontario in Canada [recipient of the John and Susan Macdonald Endowed Chair in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinical Research].

Transfusion Evidence LibraryNational Institute for Health and ResearchNHS Blood and Transplant ServiceScottish National Blood Transfusion ServiceNorthern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service

Related research themes