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Development of a national out-of-hospital transfusion protocol: a modified RAND Delphi study

von Vopelius-Feldt, Johannes, Lockwood, Joel, Mal, Sameer, Beckett, Andrew, Callum, Jeannie, Greene, Adam, Grushka, Jeremy, Khandelwal, Aditi, Lin, Yulia, Nahirniak, Susan, Pavenski, Katerina, Peddle, Michael, Prokopchuk-Gauk, Oksana, Regehr, Julian, Schmid, Jo, Shih, Andrew W., Smith, Justin A., Trojanowski, Jan, Vu, Erik, Ziesmann, Markus and Nolan, Brodie 2023. Development of a national out-of-hospital transfusion protocol: a modified RAND Delphi study. CMAJ Open 11 (3) , E546-E559. 10.9778/cmajo.20220151

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Background: Early resuscitation with blood components or products is emerging as best practice in selected patients with trauma and medical patients; as a result, out-of-hospital transfusion (OHT) programs are being developed based on limited and often conflicting evidence. This study aimed to provide guidance to Canadian critical care transport organizations on the development of OHT protocols. Methods: The study period was July 2021 to June 2022. We used a modified RAND Delphi process to achieve consensus on statements created by the study team guiding various aspects of OHT in the context of critical care transport. Purposive sampling ensured representative distribution of participants in regard to geography and relevant clinical specialties. We conducted 2 written survey Delphi rounds, followed by a virtual panel discussion (round 3). Consensus was defined as a median score of at least 6 on a Likert scale ranging from 1 (“Definitely should not include”) to 7 (“Definitely should include”). Statements that did not achieve consensus in the first 2 rounds were discussed and voted on during the panel discussion. Results: Seventeen subject experts participated in the study, all of whom completed the 3 Delphi rounds. After the study process was completed, a total of 39 statements were agreed on, covering the following domains: general oversight and clinical governance, storage and transport of blood components and products, initiation of OHT, types of blood components and products, delivery and monitoring of OHT, indications for and use of hemostatic adjuncts, and resuscitation targets of OHT. Interpretation: This expert consensus document provides guidance on OHT best practices. The consensus statements should support efficient and safe OHT in national and international critical care transport programs. The transfusion of blood components such as red blood cells (RBCs) and plasma is increasingly common in prehospital and transport medicine.1–3 In addition, the potential benefits of out-of-hospital administration of whole blood or blood products such as fibrinogen and prothrombin complex concentrate in selected patients are being investigated. In this report, we use the umbrella term “out-of-hospital transfusion” (OHT) to refer to the transfusion of whole blood, blood components such as RBCs and plasma, or blood products such as fibrinogen and prothrombin complex concentrate. Although the increasing practice of OHT suggests general consensus on a likely clinical benefit, evidence regarding the effect of OHT on morbidity and mortality is limited and conflicting.2,4–6 The generalizability of the limited evidence is further complicated in that the feasibility and potential benefit of OHT are dependent on multiple regional factors such as geography, patient factors and health care configuration. For example, 2 secondary analyses of the data sets from the Prehospital Air Medical Plasma (PAMPer) and the Control of Major Bleeding After Trauma (COMBAT) clinical trials suggested that OHT was beneficial if transport times were greater than 20 minutes and that a benefit present in blunt trauma does not translate to a benefit in penetrating trauma.7,8 In addition, out-of-hospital management of acute hemorrhage extends beyond OHT and includes factors such as administration of tranexamic acid, avoidance of hypothermia and physical means of hemorrhage control where possible.9,10 Efficient and effective implementation of OHT requires a combination of medical and logistic considerations that span multiple specialties. This is particularly relevant in countries like Canada, with long transport times to tertiary care centres, and remote communities that have limited or no access to physicians or blood components and products at their local health care facilities.11 We invited an expert panel to provide expert opinions on out-of-hospital hemorrhage management and, in particular, OHT to develop national consensus recommendations to guide OHT practice and to begin to optimize the effectiveness and safety of OHT.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: Canadian Medical Association
ISSN: 2291-0026
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 15 March 2024
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2024 15:58

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