Dissemination of patient blood management practices in Swiss intensive care units: a cross-sectional survey

Marco Previsdomini, Jacopo Colombo, Bernard Cerutti, Bernhard Gerber, Axel Hofmann, Alessandro F. Chiesa, Andrea Saporito, Davide La Regina, Stefano Cafarotti, Miriam Patella, Andreas Perren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Patient blood management (PBM) promotes the routine detection and treatment of anaemia before surgery, optimising the management of bleeding disorders, thus minimising iatrogenic blood loss and preempting allogeneic blood utilisation. PBM programmes have expanded from the elective surgical setting to nonsurgical patients, including those in intensive care units (ICUs), but their dissemination in a whole country is unknown. METHODS: We performed a cross-sectional, anonymous survey (10 October 2018 to 13 March 2019) of all ordinary medical members of the Swiss Society of Intensive Care Medicine and the registered ICU nurses from the 77 certified adult Swiss ICUs. We analysed PBM-related interventions adopted in Swiss ICUs and related them to the spread of PBM in Swiss hospitals. We explored blood test ordering policies, blood-sparing strategies and red blood cell-related transfusion practices in ICUs. RESULTS: A total of 115 medical doctors and 624 nurses (response rates 27% and 30%, respectively) completed the surveys. Hospitals had implemented a PBM programme according to 42% of physicians, more commonly in Switzerland’s German-speaking regions (Odds Ratio [OR] 3.39, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.23–9.35; p = 0.018) and in hospitals with more than 500 beds (OR 3.91, 95% CI 1.48–10.4; p = 0.006). The PBM programmes targeted the detection and correction of anaemia before surgery (79%), minimising perioperative blood loss (94%) and optimising anaemia tolerance (98%). Laboratory tests were ordered in 70.4% by the intensivist during morning rounds; the nurses performed arterial blood gas analyses autonomously in 48.4%. Blood-sparing techniques were used by only 42.1% of nurses (263 of 624, missing: 6) and 47.0% of physicians (54 of 115). Approximately 60% of respondents used an ICU-specific transfusion guideline. The reported haemoglobin threshold for the nonbleeding ICU population was 70 g/l and, therefore, was at the lower limit of current guidelines. CONCLUSIONS: Based on this survey, the estimated proportion of the intensivists working in hospitals with a PBM initiative is 42%, with significant variability between regions and hospitals of various sizes. The risk of iatrogenic anaemia is relevant due to liberal blood sample collection practices and the underuse of blood-sparing techniques. The reported transfusion threshold suggests excellent adherence to current international ICU-specific transfusion guidelines.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberw30184
JournalSwiss Medical Weekly
Issue number21-22
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'Dissemination of patient blood management practices in Swiss intensive care units: a cross-sectional survey'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this