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This systematic review addresses the issue of wrong blood in tube (WBIT). The objective was to identify interventions that have been implemented and the effectiveness of these interventions to reduce WBIT incidence in red blood cell transfusion. Eligible articles were identified through a comprehensive search of The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cinahl, BNID, and the Transfusion Evidence Library to April 2013. Initial search criteria were wide including primary intervention or observational studies, case reports, expert opinion, and guidelines. There was no restriction by study type, language, or status. Publications before 1995, reviews or reports of a secondary nature, studies of sampling errors outwith transfusion, and articles involving animals were excluded. The primary outcome was a reduction in errors. Study characteristics, outcomes measured, and methodological quality were extracted by 2 authors independently. The principal method of analysis was descriptive. A total of 12,703 references were initially identified. Preliminary secondary screening by 2 reviewers reduced articles for detailed screening to 128 articles. Eleven articles were eventually identified as eligible, resulting in 9 independent studies being included in the review. The overall finding was that all the identified interventions reduced WBIT incidence. Five studies measured the effect of a single intervention, for example, changes to blood sample labeling, weekly feedback, handwritten transfusion requests, and an electronic transfusion system. Four studies reported multiple interventions including education, second check of ID at sampling, and confirmatory sampling. It was not clear which intervention was the most effective. Sustainability of the effectiveness of interventions was also unclear. Targeted interventions, either single or multiple, can lead to a reduction in WBIT; but the sustainability of effectiveness is uncertain. Data on the pre- and postimplementation of interventions need to be collected in future trials to demonstrate effectiveness, and comparative studies are needed of different interventions.

Original publication




Journal article


Transfus Med Rev

Publication Date





197 - 205


Blood Specimen Collection, Erythrocyte Transfusion, Humans, Laboratories, Medical Errors, Product Labeling