Survey of the use of whole blood in current blood transfusion practice.
MacLennan S., Murphy MF.
Limited use of whole blood has continued despite a general move to blood component therapy in recent years. This paper describes the results of a questionnaire survey which was distributed to haematologists in charge of blood banks in England and North Wales to ascertain how much and for which indications whole blood was being requested. There was a 58% response rate. More than 90% of hospitals that responded had not requested whole blood during the last 12 months. Indications for the use of whole blood were primarily in paediatric practice, mostly for neonatal exchange transfusion or paediatric surgery (cardiac or craniofacial). Infrequent use in adult practice was for "major bleeding" when whole blood was available, and in cardiac surgery, when post-operative bleeding was unresponsive to standard replacement therapy. The evidence for the use of whole blood in preference to component therapy in the massive transfusion setting was reviewed, and no compelling evidence was found for its routine use for this indication. It is worth noting that, as currently supplied in the UK, "whole blood" is not strictly "whole" as the leucocyte-depletion process removes platelets.