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Original Article

Med Arh. 2018; 72(6): 418-424

Transfusion Practices Among General Surgeons at a Tertiary Care Center: a Survey Based Study

Abdullah A. Alamri; Majed N. Alnefaie; Asalh T. Saeedi; Abdulaziz F. Hariri; Abdulmalik Altaf; Murad M. Aljiffry.

Introduction: Blood transfusion practices affect both patient’s outcomes and utilization of institutional resources. Evidence shows that liberal blood transfusion has a detrimental effect on patient’s outcome. A restrictive approach of blood transfusion is recommended by current clinical guidelines. Aim: The aim of this study was to evaluate the attitudes, knowledge, and practices of general surgery (GS) staff and residents regarding peri-operative blood transfusion and anemia management. Material and Methods: A self-administered, web-based questionnaire was developed, and its link was sent to the emails of all general surgeons at King Abdul-Aziz University Hospital (KAUH), Jeddah city, Saudi Arabia. The questionnaire included four parts: 1) background of surgeons; 2) preoperative assessment and management of anemia; 3) post-operative blood transfusion and alternatives; and 4) enablers and barriers. Results: 56 surgeons responded to the questionnaire. We found variations in blood transfusion practices, notably the hemoglobin threshold. For stable non-cardiac cases, 7 g/dL was considered the threshold by 50% of respondents. For stable patients with past cardiac disease, a higher threshold was chosen by most (9 g/dL by 43% and 10 gm/dL by 21%). Most respondents believed that transfusion had no effect on the risk of survival (73%) and on the risk of cancer recurrence (55%) after oncologic surgical resection. Recognized facilitators were the availability of scientific evidence (84%), medicolegal concerns (57%), preference (52%), and institutional protocols (50%). Conclusion: Although current clinical guidelines recommend a restrictive transfusion practice, most respondents tended to over-order blood for elective procedures and were not aware of the potential complications of liberal blood transfusion. To implement the restrictive transfusion policies, health institutions should improve the awareness of surgeons and incorporate a strong supporting evidence in formulating local institutional guidelines.

Key words: blood transfusion;survey;surgeon;Saudi Arabia

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Journal of Contemporary Medical Education


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