Economic considerations on transfusion medicine and patient blood management

Axel Hofmann, S. Ozawa, Albert Farrugia, Shannon Farmer, A.S. Shander

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    51 Citations (Scopus)


    In times of escalating health-care cost, it is of great importance to carefully assess the cost-effectiveness and appropriateness of the most resource-consuming health interventions. A long-standing and common clinical practice that has been underestimated in cost and overestimated in effectiveness is the transfusion of allogeneic blood products. Studies show that this intervention comes with largely underestimated service cost and unacceptably high utilisation variability for matched patients, thus adding billions of unnecessary dollars to the health-care expenditure each year. Moreover, a large and increasing body of literature points to a dose-dependent increase of morbidity and mortality and adverse long-term outcomes associated with transfusion whereas published evidence for benefit is extremely limited. This means that transfusion may be a generator for increased hospital stay and possible re-admissions, resulting in additional billions in unnecessary expenditure for the health system. In contrast to this, there are evidence-based and cost-effective treatment options available to pre-empt and reduce allogeneic transfusions. The patient-specific rather than a product-centred application of these multiple modalities is termed patient blood management (PBM). From a health-economic perspective, the expeditious implementation of PBM programmes is clearly indicated. Both patients and payers could benefit from this concept that has recently been endorsed through the World Health Assembly resolution WHA63.12. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)59-68
    JournalBest Practice and Research: Clinical Anaesthesiology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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