Publications by authors named "Erica M Wood"

98 Publications

Massive transfusion experience, current practice and decision support: A survey of Australian and New Zealand anaesthetists.

Anaesth Intensive Care 2021 May 5:310057X20974035. Epub 2021 May 5.

Centre for Health Informatics, Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Sydney, Australia.

Massive transfusions guided by massive transfusion protocols are commonly used to manage critical bleeding, when the patient is at significant risk of morbidity and mortality, and multiple timely decisions must be made by clinicians. Clinical decision support systems are increasingly used to provide patient-specific recommendations by comparing patient information to a knowledge base, and have been shown to improve patient outcomes. To investigate current massive transfusion practice and the experiences and attitudes of anaesthetists towards massive transfusion and clinical decision support systems, we anonymously surveyed 1000 anaesthetists and anaesthesia trainees across Australia and New Zealand. A total of 228 surveys (23.6%) were successfully completed and 227 were analysed for a 23.3% response rate. Most respondents were involved in massive transfusions infrequently (88.1% managed five or fewer massive transfusion protocols per year) and worked at hospitals which have massive transfusion protocols (89.4%). Massive transfusion management was predominantly limited by timely access to point-of-care coagulation assessment and by competition with other tasks, with trainees reporting more significant limitations compared to specialists. The majority of respondents reported that they were likely, or very likely, both to use (73.1%) and to trust (85%) a clinical decision support system for massive transfusions, with no significant difference between anaesthesia trainees and specialists ( = 0.375 and  = 0.73, respectively). While the response rate to our survey was poor, there was still a wide range of massive transfusion experience among respondents, with multiple subjective factors identified limiting massive transfusion practice. We identified several potential design features and barriers to implementation to assist with the future development of a clinical decision support system for massive transfusion, and overall wide support for a clinical decision support system for massive transfusion among respondents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0310057X20974035DOI Listing
May 2021

What is clinically significant bleeding?

Transfusion 2021 Feb;61(2):340-343

Transfusion Research Unit, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/trf.16277DOI Listing
February 2021

Outpatient transfusions for myelodysplastic syndromes.

Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program 2020 12;2020(1):167-174

Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.

Patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) often need extended periods of red blood cell or platelet transfusion support, with the goal to manage symptoms of anemia and thrombocytopenia, respectively, and improve quality of life. Many questions about the optimal approach to transfusion management in MDS, especially in the outpatient setting, remain unanswered, including hemoglobin and platelet thresholds for transfusion. Restrictive transfusion approaches are often practised, but whether these are appropriate for outpatients with MDS, who are often older and may be frail, is not known. Current schedules for transfusion-dependent patients are burdensome, necessitating frequent visits to hospitals for sample collection and blood administration. Questions of optimal schedule and dosage are being explored in clinical trials, including the recently completed REDDS study. Patient-reported outcomes and functional assessments are increasingly being incorporated into research in this area so that we can better understand and improve transfusion support for patients with MDS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/hematology.2020000103DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7727529PMC
December 2020

How should we use convalescent plasma therapies for the management of COVID-19?

Blood 2021 03;137(12):1573-1581

Transfusion Research Unit, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

Convalescent plasma (CP) from blood donors with antibodies to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 may benefit patients with COVID-19 by providing immediate passive immunity via transfusion or by being used to manufacture hyperimmune immunoglobulin preparations. Optimal product characteristics (including neutralizing antibody titers), transfusion volume, and administration timing remain to be determined. Preliminary COVID-19 CP safety data are encouraging, but establishing the clinical efficacy of CP requires an ongoing international collaborative effort. Preliminary results from large, high-quality randomized trials have recently started to be reported.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2020008903DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7992504PMC
March 2021

Convalescent plasma or hyperimmune immunoglobulin for people with COVID-19: a living systematic review.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2020 10 12;10:CD013600. Epub 2020 Oct 12.

Cochrane Cancer, Department I of Internal Medicine, Center for Integrated Oncology Aachen Bonn Cologne Duesseldorf, Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital Cologne, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.

Background: Convalescent plasma and hyperimmune immunoglobulin may reduce mortality in patients with viral respiratory diseases, and are currently being investigated in trials as potential therapy for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). A thorough understanding of the current body of evidence regarding the benefits and risks is required.  OBJECTIVES: To continually assess, as more evidence becomes available, whether convalescent plasma or hyperimmune immunoglobulin transfusion is effective and safe in treatment of people with COVID-19.

Search Methods: We searched the World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 Global Research Database, MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Research Article Database and trial registries to identify completed and ongoing studies on 19 August 2020.

Selection Criteria: We followed standard Cochrane methodology. We included studies evaluating convalescent plasma or hyperimmune immunoglobulin for people with COVID-19, irrespective of study design, disease severity, age, gender or ethnicity. We excluded studies including populations with other coronavirus diseases (severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) or Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)) and studies evaluating standard immunoglobulin.

Data Collection And Analysis: We followed standard Cochrane methodology. To assess bias in included studies, we used the Cochrane 'Risk of bias' 2.0 tool for randomised controlled trials (RCTs), the Risk of Bias in Non-randomised Studies - of Interventions (ROBINS-I) tool for controlled non-randomised studies of interventions (NRSIs), and the assessment criteria for observational studies, provided by Cochrane Childhood Cancer for non-controlled NRSIs. We rated the certainty of evidence using the GRADE approach for the following outcomes: all-cause mortality at hospital discharge, mortality (time to event), improvement of clinical symptoms (7, 15, and 30 days after transfusion), grade 3 and 4 adverse events (AEs), and serious adverse events (SAEs).

Main Results: This is the second living update of our review. We included 19 studies (2 RCTs, 8 controlled NRSIs, 9 non-controlled NRSIs) with 38,160 participants, of whom 36,081 received convalescent plasma. Two completed RCTs are awaiting assessment (published after 19 August 2020). We identified a further 138 ongoing studies evaluating convalescent plasma or hyperimmune immunoglobulin, of which 73 are randomised (3 reported in a study registry as already being completed, but without results). We did not identify any completed studies evaluating hyperimmune immunoglobulin. We did not include data from controlled NRSIs in data synthesis because of critical risk of bias. The overall certainty of evidence was low to very low, due to study limitations and results including both potential benefits and harms.  Effectiveness of convalescent plasma for people with COVID-19  We included results from two RCTs (both stopped early) with 189 participants, of whom 95 received convalescent plasma. Control groups received standard care at time of treatment without convalescent plasma. We are uncertain whether convalescent plasma decreases all-cause mortality at hospital discharge (risk ratio (RR) 0.55, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.22 to 1.34; 1 RCT, 86 participants; low-certainty evidence).  We are uncertain whether convalescent plasma decreases mortality (time to event) (hazard ratio (HR) 0.64, 95% CI 0.33 to 1.25; 2 RCTs, 189 participants; low-certainty evidence). Convalescent plasma may result in little to no difference in improvement of clinical symptoms (i.e. need for respiratory support) at seven days (RR 0.98, 95% CI 0.30 to 3.19; 1 RCT, 103 participants; low-certainty evidence). Convalescent plasma may increase improvement of clinical symptoms at up to 15 days (RR 1.34, 95% CI 0.85 to 2.11; 2 RCTs, 189 participants; low-certainty evidence), and at up to 30 days (RR 1.13, 95% CI 0.88 to 1.43; 2 studies, 188 participants; low-certainty evidence).  No studies reported on quality of life.  Safety of convalescent plasma for people with COVID-19 We included results from two RCTs, eight controlled NRSIs and nine non-controlled NRSIs assessing safety of convalescent plasma. Reporting of safety data and duration of follow-up was variable. The controlled studies reported on AEs and SAEs only in participants receiving convalescent plasma. Some, but not all, studies included death as a SAE.  The studies did not report the grade of AEs. Fourteen studies (566 participants) reported on AEs of possible grade 3 or 4 severity. The majority of these AEs were allergic or respiratory events. We are very uncertain whether convalescent plasma therapy affects the risk of moderate to severe AEs (very low-certainty evidence).  17 studies (35,944 participants) assessed SAEs for 20,622 of its participants. The majority of participants were from one non-controlled NRSI (20,000 participants), which reported on SAEs within the first four hours and within an additional seven days after transfusion. There were 63 deaths, 12 were possibly and one was probably related to transfusion. There were 146 SAEs within four hours and 1136 SAEs within seven days post-transfusion. These were predominantly allergic or respiratory, thrombotic or thromboembolic and cardiac events. We are uncertain whether convalescent plasma therapy results in a clinically relevant increased risk of SAEs (low-certainty evidence).

Authors' Conclusions: We are uncertain whether convalescent plasma is beneficial for people admitted to hospital with COVID-19. There was limited information regarding grade 3 and 4 AEs to determine the effect of convalescent plasma therapy on clinically relevant SAEs. In the absence of a control group, we are unable to assess the relative safety of convalescent plasma therapy.  While major efforts to conduct research on COVID-19 are being made, recruiting the anticipated number of participants into these studies is problematic. The early termination of the first two RCTs investigating convalescent plasma, and the lack of data from 20 studies that have completed or were due to complete at the time of this update illustrate these challenges. Well-designed studies should be prioritised. Moreover, studies should report outcomes in the same way, and should consider the importance of maintaining comparability in terms of co-interventions administered in all study arms.  There are 138 ongoing studies evaluating convalescent plasma and hyperimmune immunoglobulin, of which 73 are RCTs (three already completed). This is the second living update of the review, and we will continue to update this review periodically. Future updates may show different results to those reported here.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD013600.pub3DOI Listing
October 2020

How well does your massive transfusion protocol perform? A scoping review of quality indicators.

Blood Transfus 2020 11 18;18(6):423-433. Epub 2020 Sep 18.

Transfusion Research Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.

Background: Management of patients with major haemorrhage often requires urgent administration of multiple blood products, commonly termed a massive transfusion (MT). Clinical practice in these scenarios is supported in part by evidence-based MT guidelines, which typically recommend use of an MT protocol (MTP). MTPs aim to provide practical and specific interpretation of MT guidelines for local institutional use, outlining tasks and pre-configuration of blood product packs to be transfused to provide efficient and evidence-based transfusion management. Institutions can support this aim by the measurement of MTP performance and patient outcomes through collection of quality indicators (QI). Many international guidelines now recommend the routine collection of a range of QIs relating to MT/MTP; however, there is significant variation in procedures and no benchmarks or minimal evidence to guide practice.

Materials And Methods: We conducted a scoping review to document and evaluate reported QIs for MTP. We conducted a search of CENTRAL, MEDLINE and EMBASE for published studies from inception until May 14, 2020, that reported at least one MTP QI and use of an MTP or equivalent protocol. Included studies were evaluated using a QI classification system based on current MT QI guidelines and the Donabedian QI framework.

Results: We identified 107 eligible studies. Trauma patients were the most commonly evaluated group, and total blood products transfused and in-hospital mortality were the most commonly reported QIs. Reflecting the lack of international consensus and benchmarks, we found significant variability in the reporting of QIs, which often did not reflect guideline recommendations.

Discussion: Our review highlights the importance of establishing international consensus on prioritised QIs with quantifiable targets that are important to the process of MT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2450/2020.0082-20DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7605884PMC
November 2020

Subgroup analysis of the ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly randomized clinical trial suggests aspirin did not improve outcomes in older adults with chronic kidney disease.

Kidney Int 2021 02 10;99(2):466-474. Epub 2020 Sep 10.

Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Department of Nephrology, Monash Medical Centre, Monash Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Electronic address:

The role of aspirin for primary prevention in older adults with chronic kidney disease (CKD) is unclear. Therefore, post hoc analysis of the randomized controlled trial ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE) was undertaken comparing 100 mg of enteric-coated aspirin daily against matching placebo. Participants were community dwelling adults aged 70 years and older in Australia, 65 years and older in the United States, all free of a history of dementia or cardiovascular disease and of any disease expected to lead to death within five years. CKD was defined as present at baseline if either eGFR under 60mL/min/1.73m or urine albumin to creatinine ratio 3 mg/mmol or more. In 4758 participants with and 13004 without CKD, the rates of a composite endpoint (dementia, persistent physical disability or death), major adverse cardiovascular events and clinically significant bleeding in the CKD participants were almost double those without CKD. Aspirin's effects as estimated by hazard ratios were generally similar between CKD and non-CKD groups for dementia, persistent physical disability or death, major adverse cardiovascular events and clinically significant bleeding. Thus, in our analysis aspirin did not improve outcomes in older people while increasing the risk of bleeding, with mostly consistent effects in participants with and without CKD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.kint.2020.08.011DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7957958PMC
February 2021

The burden of immune-mediated refractoriness to platelet transfusions in myelodysplastic syndromes.

Transfusion 2020 Oct 9;60(10):2192-2198. Epub 2020 Sep 9.

Department of Haematology, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.

Up to 65% of patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) have thrombocytopenia and require platelet (PLT) transfusion. The current standard of practice is to provide random- or single-donor PLT transfusion and manage PLT refractoriness (PLT-R) if and when it develops. This study assessed the prevalence and risk factors for immune-mediated PLT-R in patients in the South Australian (SA) MDS Registry.

Study Design And Methods: A retrospective analysis of MDS patients enrolled in the SA-MDS registry was performed. HLA data was analyzed from January 2003 to 30 June 2017 to ensure minimum follow-up of 2 years.

Results: During the study period, 341 of 681 (50%) MDS patients required at least one PLT transfusion, with 29 of 341 (9%) of all PLT transfusion patients requiring HLA-matched PLT transfusion for PLT-R. Of these 29 patients, 70% were females treated with disease-modifying therapies suggesting that these patients are at high risk of HLA alloimmunization.

Conclusions: Immune-mediated PLT-R is common in MDS and can be expensive and difficult to manage once it occurs. Therefore, PLT transfusion practices should be optimized, especially for female MDS patients planned for disease-modifying therapies. This can help save time and streamline management, especially in the provision of PLT products for these patients, where the consequences of alloimmunization and PLT-R can be severe.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/trf.16029DOI Listing
October 2020

Modeling the West Nile virus transfusion transmission risk in a nonoutbreak country associated with traveling donors.

Transfusion 2020 Nov 31;60(11):2611-2621. Epub 2020 Aug 31.

Transfusion Research Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Background: West Nile virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne virus and transfusion transmission (TT) has been demonstrated. The European Union and neighboring countries experience an annual transmission season.

Study Design And Methods: We developed a novel probabilistic model to estimate the WNV TT risk in Australia attributable to returned donors who had travelled to the European Union and neighboring countries during the 2018. We estimated weekly WNV TT risks in Australia for each outbreak country and the cumulative risk for all countries.

Results: Highest mean weekly TT risk in Australia attributable to donors returning from a specific outbreak country was 1 in 23.3 million (plausible range, 16.8-41.9 million) donations during Week 39 in Croatia. Highest mean weekly cumulative TT risk was 1 in 8.5 million donations (plausible range, 5.1-17.8 million) during Week 35.

Conclusions: The estimated TT risk in Australia attributable to returning donors from the European Union and neighboring countries in 2018 was very small, and additional risk mitigation strategies were not indicated. In the context of such low TT risks, a simpler but effective approach would be to monitor the number of weekly reported West Nile fever cases and implement risk modeling only when the reported cases reached a predefined number or trigger point.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/trf.16060DOI Listing
November 2020

Critical peptic ulcer bleeding requiring massive blood transfusion: outcomes of 270 cases.

Intern Med J 2020 Aug 12. Epub 2020 Aug 12.

Transfusion Research Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Background: Critical peptic ulcer bleeding requiring massive transfusion is a gastroenterological emergency. Few data exist on management and outcomes. The Australian and New Zealand Massive Transfusion Registry collects comprehensive data on adult patients receiving massive transfusion across all bleeding contexts.

Aim: To evaluate clinical factors, management (procedural interventions, transfusions) and outcomes after massive transfusion for critical peptic ulcer bleeding.

Method: Demographics, diagnosis, procedures, and mortality data were available for 5,482 massive transfusion cases from 23 hospitals. International Classification of Diseases-Australian modification, 10 Edition codes were used to determine peptic ulcer bleeding and the Australian Classification of Health Intervention for interventions (endoscopic, radiological, surgical).

Results: Peptic ulcer bleeding accounted for 270 (4.9%) of all in-hospital massive transfusion cases. 70% were male. Median number of red blood cell (RBC) units transfused was 7 [interquartile-range, 6 to 10]. 30-day mortality was 19.6%. Age (75 vs 67 years; p=0.009) and Charlson Comorbidity Index (3 vs 1; p<0.001) were higher in those who died. Highest 24-hour INR (1.5 vs 1.4; p<0.001) and creatinine (118 μmol/L vs. 96 μmol/L; p=0.03), and nadir platelet count (86 x10 /L vs 118 x10 /L; p=0.01) were also associated with 30-day mortality. There were no differences in mortality according to number of RBC, platelets or plasma units transfused, gastroscopy (with or without intervention), interventional radiology or surgery.

Conclusion: One in five patients with critical peptic ulcer bleeding requiring massive transfusion died by 30 days. Mortality was associated with patient characteristics rather than clinical interventions (procedures, blood product transfusion). This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/imj.15009DOI Listing
August 2020

Preoperative identification of cardiac surgery patients at risk of receiving a platelet transfusion: The Australian Cardiac Surgery Platelet Transfusion (ACSePT) risk prediction tool.

Transfusion 2020 Oct 5;60(10):2272-2283. Epub 2020 Aug 5.

The Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Research Centre (ANZIC-RC), School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.

Platelet (PLT) transfusions are limited and costly resources. Accurately predicting clinical demand while limiting product wastage remains difficult. A PLT transfusion prediction score was developed for use in cardiac surgery patients who commonly require PLT transfusions.

Study Design And Methods: Using the Australian and New Zealand Society of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgeons National Cardiac Surgery Database, significant predictors for PLT transfusion were identified by multivariate logistic regression. Using a development data set containing 2005 to 2016 data, the Australian Cardiac Surgery Platelet Transfusion (ACSePT) risk prediction tool was developed by assigning weights to each significant predictor that corresponded to a probability of PLT transfusion. The predicted probability for each score was compared to actual PLT transfusion occurrence in a validation (2017) data set.

Results: The development data set contained 38 independent variables and 91 521 observations. The validation data set contained 12 529 observations. The optimal model contained 23 variables significant at P < .001 and an area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve of 0.69 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.68-0.69). ACSePT contained nine variables and had an area under the ROC curve of 0.66 (95% CI, 0.65-0.66) and overall predicted probability of PLT transfusion of 19.8% for the validation data set compared to an observed risk of 20.3%.

Conclusion: The ACSePT risk prediction tool is the first scoring system to predict a cardiac surgery patient's risk of receiving a PLT transfusion. It can be used to identify patients at higher risk of receiving PLT transfusions for inclusion in clinical trials and by PLT inventory managers to predict PLT demand.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/trf.15990DOI Listing
October 2020

Major GI bleeding in older persons using aspirin: incidence and risk factors in the ASPREE randomised controlled trial.

Gut 2021 Apr 3;70(4):717-724. Epub 2020 Aug 3.

School of Public Health & Preventive Medicine, Monash University Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Objective: There is a lack of robust data on significant gastrointestinal bleeding in older people using aspirin. We calculated the incidence, risk factors and absolute risk using data from a large randomised, controlled trial.

Design: Data were extracted from an aspirin versus placebo primary prevention trial conducted throughout 2010-2017 ('ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE)', n=19 114) in community-dwelling persons aged ≥70 years. Clinical characteristics were collected at baseline and annually. The endpoint was major GI bleeding that resulted in transfusion, hospitalisation, surgery or death, adjudicated independently by two physicians blinded to trial arm.

Results: Over a median follow-up of 4.7 years (88 389 person years), there were 137 upper GI bleeds (89 in aspirin arm and 48 in placebo arm, HR 1.87, 95% CI 1.32 to 2.66, p<0.01) and 127 lower GI bleeds (73 in aspirin and 54 in placebo arm, HR 1.36, 95% CI 0.96 to 1.94, p=0.08) reflecting a 60% increase in bleeding overall. There were two fatal bleeds in the placebo arm. Multivariable analyses indicated age, smoking, hypertension, chronic kidney disease and obesity increased bleeding risk. The absolute 5-year risk of bleeding was 0.25% (95% CI 0.16% to 0.37%) for a 70 year old not on aspirin and up to 5.03% (2.56% to 8.73%) for an 80 year old taking aspirin with additional risk factors.

Conclusion: Aspirin increases overall GI bleeding risk by 60%; however, the 5-year absolute risk of serious bleeding is modest in younger, well individuals. These data may assist patients and their clinicians to make informed decisions about prophylactic use of aspirin.

Trial Registration Number: ASPREE. NCT01038583.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2020-321585DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7957959PMC
April 2021

Rapid Gel Card Agglutination Assays for Serological Analysis Following SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Humans.

ACS Sens 2020 08 16;5(8):2596-2603. Epub 2020 Jul 16.

Department of Chemical Engineering, ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent BioNano Science and Technology, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria 3800, Australia.

High-throughput and rapid serology assays to detect the antibody response specific to severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) in human blood samples are urgently required to improve our understanding of the effects of COVID-19 across the world. Short-term applications include rapid case identification and contact tracing to limit viral spread, while population screening to determine the extent of viral infection across communities is a longer-term need. Assays developed to address these needs should match the ASSURED criteria. We have identified agglutination tests based on the commonly employed blood typing methods as a viable option. These blood typing tests are employed in hospitals worldwide, are high-throughput, fast (10-30 min), and automated in most cases. Herein, we describe the application of agglutination assays to SARS-CoV-2 serology testing by combining column agglutination testing with peptide-antibody bioconjugates, which facilitate red cell cross-linking only in the presence of plasma containing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. This simple, rapid, and easily scalable approach has immediate application in SARS-CoV-2 serological testing and is a useful platform for assay development beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acssensors.0c01050DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7370531PMC
August 2020

Convalescent plasma or hyperimmune immunoglobulin for people with COVID-19: a living systematic review.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2020 07 10;7:CD013600. Epub 2020 Jul 10.

Cochrane Cancer, Department I of Internal Medicine, Center for Integrated Oncology Aachen Bonn Cologne Duesseldorf, Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital Cologne, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.

Background: Convalescent plasma and hyperimmune immunoglobulin may reduce mortality in patients with viral respiratory diseases, and are currently being investigated in trials as potential therapy for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). A thorough understanding of the current body of evidence regarding the benefits and risks is required.  OBJECTIVES: To continually assess, as more evidence becomes available, whether convalescent plasma or hyperimmune immunoglobulin transfusion is effective and safe in treatment of people with COVID-19.

Search Methods: We searched the World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 Global Research Database, MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Research Article Database and trial registries to identify completed and ongoing studies on 4 June 2020.

Selection Criteria: We followed standard Cochrane methodology. We included studies evaluating convalescent plasma or hyperimmune immunoglobulin for people with COVID-19, irrespective of study design, disease severity, age, gender or ethnicity. We excluded studies including populations with other coronavirus diseases (severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) or Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)) and studies evaluating standard immunoglobulin.

Data Collection And Analysis: We followed standard Cochrane methodology. To assess bias in included studies, we used the Cochrane 'Risk of bias' tool for randomised controlled trials (RCTs), the Risk of Bias in Non-randomised Studies - of Interventions (ROBINS-I) tool for controlled non-randomised studies of interventions (NRSIs), and the assessment criteria for observational studies, provided by Cochrane Childhood Cancer for non-controlled NRSIs.  MAIN RESULTS: This is the first living update of our review. We included 20 studies (1 RCT, 3 controlled NRSIs, 16 non-controlled NRSIs) with 5443 participants, of whom 5211 received convalescent plasma, and identified a further 98 ongoing studies evaluating convalescent plasma or hyperimmune immunoglobulin, of which 50 are randomised. We did not identify any completed studies evaluating hyperimmune immunoglobulin. Overall risk of bias of included studies was high, due to study design, type of participants, and other previous or concurrent treatments. Effectiveness of convalescent plasma for people with COVID-19  We included results from four controlled studies (1 RCT (stopped early) with 103 participants, of whom 52 received convalescent plasma; and 3 controlled NRSIs with 236 participants, of whom 55 received convalescent plasma) to assess effectiveness of convalescent plasma. Control groups received standard care at time of treatment without convalescent plasma. All-cause mortality at hospital discharge (1 controlled NRSI, 21 participants) We are very uncertain whether convalescent plasma has any effect on all-cause mortality at hospital discharge (risk ratio (RR) 0.89, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.61 to 1.31; very low-certainty evidence). Time to death (1 RCT, 103 participants; 1 controlled NRSI, 195 participants) We are very uncertain whether convalescent plasma prolongs time to death (RCT: hazard ratio (HR) 0.74, 95% CI 0.30 to 1.82; controlled NRSI: HR 0.46, 95% CI 0.22 to 0.96; very low-certainty evidence). Improvement of clinical symptoms, assessed by need for respiratory support (1 RCT, 103 participants; 1 controlled NRSI, 195 participants) We are very uncertain whether convalescent plasma has any effect on improvement of clinical symptoms at seven days (RCT: RR 0.98, 95% CI 0.30 to 3.19), 14 days (RCT: RR 1.85, 95% CI 0.91 to 3.77; controlled NRSI: RR 1.08, 95% CI 0.91 to 1.29), and 28 days (RCT: RR 1.20, 95% CI 0.80 to 1.81; very low-certainty evidence). Quality of life No studies reported this outcome.  Safety of convalescent plasma for people with COVID-19 We included results from 1 RCT, 3 controlled NRSIs and 10 non-controlled NRSIs assessing safety of convalescent plasma. Reporting of adverse events and serious adverse events was variable. The controlled studies reported on adverse events and serious adverse events only in participants receiving convalescent plasma. The duration of follow-up varied. Some, but not all, studies included death as a serious adverse event.  Grade 3 or 4 adverse events (13 studies, 201 participants) The studies did not report the grade of adverse events. Thirteen studies (201 participants) reported on adverse events of possible grade 3 or 4 severity. The majority of these adverse events were allergic or respiratory events. We are very uncertain whether or not convalescent plasma therapy affects the risk of moderate to severe adverse events (very low-certainty evidence).  Serious adverse events (14 studies, 5201 participants)  Fourteen studies (5201 participants) reported on serious adverse events. The majority of participants were from one non-controlled NRSI (5000 participants), which reported only on serious adverse events limited to the first four hours after convalescent plasma transfusion. This study included death as a serious adverse event; they reported 15 deaths, four of which they classified as potentially, probably or definitely related to transfusion. Other serious adverse events reported in all studies were predominantly allergic or respiratory in nature, including anaphylaxis, transfusion-associated dyspnoea, and transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI). We are very uncertain whether or not convalescent plasma affects the number of serious adverse events.

Authors' Conclusions: We are very uncertain whether convalescent plasma is beneficial for people admitted to hospital with COVID-19. For safety outcomes we also included non-controlled NRSIs. There was limited information regarding adverse events. Of the controlled studies, none reported on this outcome in the control group. There is only very low-certainty evidence for safety of convalescent plasma for COVID-19.  While major efforts to conduct research on COVID-19 are being made, problems with recruiting the anticipated number of participants into these studies are conceivable. The early termination of the first RCT investigating convalescent plasma, and the multitude of studies registered in the past months illustrate this. It is therefore necessary to critically assess the design of these registered studies, and well-designed studies should be prioritised. Other considerations for these studies are the need to report outcomes for all study arms in the same way, and the importance of maintaining comparability in terms of co-interventions administered in all study arms.  There are 98 ongoing studies evaluating convalescent plasma and hyperimmune immunoglobulin, of which 50 are RCTs. This is the first living update of the review, and we will continue to update this review periodically. These updates may show different results to those reported here.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD013600.pub2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7389743PMC
July 2020

Clinical use of Convalescent Plasma in the COVID-19 pandemic: a transfusion-focussed gap analysis with recommendations for future research priorities.

Vox Sang 2021 Jan 3;116(1):88-98. Epub 2020 Sep 3.

Department Unit Transfusion Medicine, Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Background And Objectives: Use of convalescent plasma for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) treatment has gained interest worldwide. However, there is lack of evidence on its dosing, safety and effectiveness. Until data from clinical studies are available to provide solid evidence for worldwide applicable guidelines, there is a need to provide guidance to the transfusion community and researchers on this emergent therapeutic option. This paper aims to identify existing key gaps in current knowledge in the clinical application of COVID-19 convalescent plasma (CCP).

Materials And Methods: The International Society of Blood Transfusion (ISBT) initiated a multidisciplinary working group with worldwide representation from all six continents with the aim of reviewing existing practices on CCP use from donor, product and patient perspectives. A subgroup of clinical transfusion professionals was formed to draft a document for CCP clinical application to identify the gaps in knowledge in existing literature.

Results: Gaps in knowledge were identified in the following main domains: study design, patient eligibility, CCP dose, frequency and timing of CCP administration, parameters to assess response to CCP treatment and long-term outcome, adverse events and CCP application in less-resourced countries as well as in paediatrics and neonates.

Conclusion: This paper outlines a framework of gaps in the knowledge of clinical deployment of CPP that were identified as being most relevant. Studies to address the identified gaps are required to provide better evidence on the effectiveness and safety of CCP use.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/vox.12973DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7891452PMC
January 2021

Convalescent plasma or hyperimmune immunoglobulin for people with COVID-19: a rapid review.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2020 05 14;5:CD013600. Epub 2020 May 14.

Cochrane Cancer, Department I of Internal Medicine, Center for Integrated Oncology Aachen Bonn Cologne Duesseldorf, Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital Cologne, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.

Background: Convalescent plasma and hyperimmune immunoglobulin may reduce mortality in patients with respiratory virus diseases, and are currently being investigated in trials as a potential therapy for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). A thorough understanding of the current body of evidence regarding the benefits and risks is required.  OBJECTIVES: To assess whether convalescent plasma or hyperimmune immunoglobulin transfusion is effective and safe in the treatment of people with COVID-19.

Search Methods: The protocol was pre-published with the Center for Open Science and can be accessed here: osf.io/dwf53  We searched the World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 Global Research Database, MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Research Article Database and trials registries to identify ongoing studies and results of completed studies on 23 April 2020 for case-series, cohort, prospectively planned, and randomised controlled trials (RCTs).

Selection Criteria: We followed standard Cochrane methodology and performed all steps regarding study selection in duplicate by two independent review authors (in contrast to the recommendations of the Cochrane Rapid Reviews Methods Group). We included studies evaluating convalescent plasma or hyperimmune immunoglobulin for people with COVID-19, irrespective of disease severity, age, gender or ethnicity. We excluded studies including populations with other coronavirus diseases (severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) or Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)) and studies evaluating standard immunoglobulins.

Data Collection And Analysis: We followed recommendations of the Cochrane Rapid Reviews Methods Group regarding data extraction and assessment. To assess bias in included studies, we used the assessment criteria tool for observational studies, provided by Cochrane Childhood Cancer. We rated the certainty of evidence using the GRADE approach for the following outcomes: all-cause mortality at hospital discharge, improvement of clinical symptoms (7, 15, and 30 days after transfusion), grade 3 and 4 adverse events, and serious adverse events.  MAIN RESULTS: We included eight studies (seven case-series, one prospectively planned, single-arm intervention study) with 32 participants, and identified a further 48 ongoing studies evaluating convalescent plasma (47 studies) or hyperimmune immunoglobulin (one study), of which 22 are randomised. Overall risk of bias of the eight included studies was high, due to: study design; small number of participants; poor reporting within studies; and varied type of participants with different severities of disease, comorbidities, and types of previous or concurrent treatments, including antivirals, antifungals or antibiotics, corticosteroids, hydroxychloroquine and respiratory support. We rated all outcomes as very low certainty, and we were unable to summarise numerical data in any meaningful way. As we identified case-series studies only, we reported results narratively. Effectiveness of convalescent plasma for people with COVID-19 The following reported outcomes could all be related to the underlying natural history of the disease or other concomitant treatment, rather than convalescent plasma. All-cause mortality at hospital discharge All studies reported mortality. All participants were alive at the end of the reporting period, but not all participants had been discharged from hospital by the end of the study (15 participants discharged, 6 still hospitalised, 11 unclear). Follow-up ranged from 3 days to 37 days post-transfusion. We do not know whether convalescent plasma therapy affects mortality (very low-certainty evidence).  Improvement of clinical symptoms (assessed by respiratory support) Six studies, including 28 participants, reported the level of respiratory support required; most participants required respiratory support at baseline. All studies reported improvement in clinical symptoms in at least some participants. We do not know whether convalescent plasma improves clinical symptoms (very low-certainty evidence). Time to discharge from hospital Six studies reported time to discharge from hospital for at least some participants, which ranged from four to 35 days after convalescent plasma therapy.  Admission on the intensive care unit (ICU) Six studies included patients who were critically ill. At final follow-up the majority of these patients were no longer on the ICU or no longer required mechanical ventilation. Length of stay on the ICU Only one study (1 participant) reported length of stay on the ICU. The individual was discharged from the ICU 11 days after plasma transfusion. Safety of convalescent plasma for people with COVID-19 Grade 3 or 4 adverse events  The studies did not report the grade of adverse events after convalescent plasma transfusion. Two studies reported data relating to participants who had experienced adverse events, that were presumably grade 3 or 4. One case study reported a participant who had moderate fever (38.9 °C). Another study (3 participants) reported a case of severe anaphylactic shock. Four studies reported the absence of moderate or severe adverse events (19 participants). We are very uncertain whether or not convalescent plasma therapy affects the risk of moderate to severe adverse events (very low-certainty evidence). Serious adverse events One study (3 participants) reported one serious adverse event. As described above, this individual had severe anaphylactic shock after receiving convalescent plasma. Six studies reported that no serious adverse events occurred. We are very uncertain whether or not convalescent plasma therapy affects the risk of serious adverse events (very low-certainty evidence).  AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: We identified eight studies (seven case-series and one prospectively planned single-arm intervention study) with a total of 32 participants (range 1 to 10). Most studies assessed the risks of the intervention; reporting two adverse events (potentially grade 3 or 4), one of which was a serious adverse event. We are very uncertain whether convalescent plasma is effective for people admitted to hospital with COVID-19 as studies reported results inconsistently, making it difficult to compare results and to draw conclusions. We identified very low-certainty evidence on the effectiveness and safety of convalescent plasma therapy for people with COVID-19; all studies were at high risk of bias and reporting quality was low. No RCTs or controlled non-randomised studies evaluating benefits and harms of convalescent plasma have been completed. There are 47 ongoing studies evaluating convalescent plasma, of which 22 are RCTs, and one trial evaluating hyperimmune immunoglobulin. We will update this review as a living systematic review, based on monthly searches in the above mentioned databases and registries. These updates are likely to show different results to those reported here.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD013600DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7271896PMC
May 2020

Managing haematology and oncology patients during the COVID-19 pandemic: interim consensus guidance.

Med J Aust 2020 06 13;212(10):481-489. Epub 2020 May 13.

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, VIC.

Introduction: A pandemic coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, causes COVID-19, a potentially life-threatening respiratory disease. Patients with cancer may have compromised immunity due to their malignancy and/or treatment, and may be at elevated risk of severe COVID-19. Community transmission of COVID-19 could overwhelm health care services, compromising delivery of cancer care. This interim consensus guidance provides advice for clinicians managing patients with cancer during the pandemic.

Main Recommendations: During the COVID-19 pandemic: In patients with cancer with fever and/or respiratory symptoms, consider causes in addition to COVID-19, including other infections and therapy-related pneumonitis. For suspected or confirmed COVID-19, discuss temporary cessation of cancer therapy with a relevant specialist. Provide information on COVID-19 for patients and carers. Adopt measures within cancer centres to reduce risk of nosocomial SARS-CoV-2 acquisition; support population-wide social distancing; reduce demand on acute services; ensure adequate staffing; and provide culturally safe care. Measures should be equitable, transparent and proportionate to the COVID-19 threat. Consider the risks and benefits of modifying cancer therapies due to COVID-19. Communicate treatment modifications, and review once health service capacity allows. Consider potential impacts of COVID-19 on the blood supply and availability of stem cell donors. Discuss and document goals of care, and involve palliative care services in contingency planning.

Changes In Management As A Result Of This Statement: This interim consensus guidance provides a framework for clinicians managing patients with cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic. In view of the rapidly changing situation, clinicians must also monitor national, state, local and institutional policies, which will take precedence.

Endorsed By: Australasian Leukaemia and Lymphoma Group; Australasian Lung Cancer Trials Group; Australian and New Zealand Children's Haematology/Oncology Group; Australia and New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine; Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases; Bone Marrow Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand; Cancer Council Australia; Cancer Nurses Society of Australia; Cancer Society of New Zealand; Clinical Oncology Society of Australia; Haematology Society of Australia and New Zealand; National Centre for Infections in Cancer; New Zealand Cancer Control Agency; New Zealand Society for Oncology; and Palliative Care Australia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5694/mja2.50607DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7273031PMC
June 2020

Patient-reported outcome measures in multiple myeloma: Real-time reporting to improve care (My-PROMPT) - a pilot randomized controlled trial.

Am J Hematol 2020 07 20;95(7):E178-E181. Epub 2020 Apr 20.

School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajh.25815DOI Listing
July 2020

Diagnostic evaluation and considerations in hypocellular bone marrow failure-A focus on genomics.

Int J Lab Hematol 2020 Jun 5;42 Suppl 1:82-89. Epub 2020 Mar 5.

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Vic., Australia.

Hypocellular bone marrow failure (BMF) has myriad differential diagnoses, most simply considered as acquired and inherited disorders, which are frequently indistinguishable upon morphologic examination of the blood and bone marrow. Accurate diagnosis is critical to optimization of management and begins with a detailed history (including family history) and physical examination. Next-generation sequencing technologies complement traditional testing techniques (such as chromosomal fragility and telomere length assessment) and have a broad application in the diagnosis and prognostication of BMF, with the importance of detection of both germline changes and also somatic variants increasingly well understood and appreciated. There is increasing awareness of germline predisposition to haematological malignancy, which incorporates but is not limited to the traditional inherited BMF syndromes and which raises challenges for counselling, monitoring and treatment of people who harbour a germline lesion. There are many benefits to both patients and their kindred of accurate determination of the precise germline change underlying heritable bone marrow diseases, along with its associated mode of inheritance. While individually, these diseases are rare, collectively they are not so and there are many collaborative efforts underway to document the natural history of these disorders, the associated phenotypes and the ever-increasing list of variants which have sufficient evidence to warrant the ascription of a pathogenic classification. We describe the many diagnostic considerations when evaluating newly presenting patients with hypocellular BMF, with a focus on genomic assessment, which is relevant in both germline and acquired diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ijlh.13179DOI Listing
June 2020

Haematological features, transfusion management and outcomes of massive obstetric haemorrhage: findings from the Australian and New Zealand Massive Transfusion Registry.

Br J Haematol 2020 08 16;190(4):618-628. Epub 2020 Feb 16.

Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Vic, Australia.

Massive obstetric haemorrhage (MOH) is a leading cause of maternal morbidity and mortality world-wide. Using the Australian and New Zealand Massive Transfusion Registry, we performed a bi-national cohort study of MOH defined as bleeding at ≥20 weeks' gestation or postpartum requiring ≥5 red blood cells (RBC) units within 4 h. Between 2008 and 2015, we identified 249 cases of MOH cases from 19 sites. Predominant causes of MOH were uterine atony (22%), placenta praevia (20%) and obstetric trauma (19%). Intensive care unit admission and/or hysterectomy occurred in 44% and 29% of cases, respectively. There were three deaths. Hypofibrinogenaemia (<2 g/l) occurred in 52% of cases in the first 24 h after massive transfusion commenced; of these cases, 74% received cryoprecipitate. Median values of other haemostatic tests were within accepted limits. Plasma, platelets or cryoprecipitate were transfused in 88%, 66% and 57% of cases, respectively. By multivariate regression, transfusion of ≥6 RBC units before the first cryoprecipitate (odds ratio [OR] 3·5, 95% CI: 1·7-7·2), placenta praevia (OR 7·2, 95% CI: 2·0-26·4) and emergency caesarean section (OR 4·9, 95% CI: 2·0-11·7) were independently associated with increased risk of hysterectomy. These findings confirm MOH as a major cause of maternal morbidity and mortality and indicate areas for practice improvement.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.16524DOI Listing
August 2020

Utility of clinical comprehensive genomic characterization for diagnostic categorization in patients presenting with hypocellular bone marrow failure syndromes.

Haematologica 2021 01 1;106(1):64-73. Epub 2021 Jan 1.

Clinical Haematology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre/Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.

Bone marrow failure (BMF) related to hypoplasia of hematopoietic elements in the bone marrow is a heterogeneous clinical entity with a broad differential diagnosis including both inherited and acquired causes. Accurate diagnostic categorization is critical to optimal patient care and detection of genomic variants in these patients may provide this important diagnostic and prognostic information. We performed real-time, accredited (ISO15189) comprehensive genomic characterization including targeted sequencing and whole exome sequencing in 115 patients with BMF syndrome (median age 24 years, range 3 months - 81 years). In patients with clinical diagnoses of inherited BMF syndromes, acquired BMF syndromes or clinically unclassifiable BMF we detected variants in 52% (12/23), 53% (25/47) and 56% (25/45) respectively. Genomic characterization resulted in a change of diagnosis in 30/115 (26%) including the identification of germline causes for 3/47 and 16/45 cases with pre-test diagnoses of acquired and clinically unclassifiable BMF respectively. The observed clinical impact of accurate diagnostic categorization included choice to perform allogeneic stem cell transplantation, disease-specific targeted treatments, identification of at-risk family members and influence of sibling allogeneic stem cell donor choice. Multiple novel pathogenic variants and copy number changes were identified in our cohort including in TERT, FANCA, RPS7 and SAMD9. Whole exome sequence analysis facilitated the identification of variants in two genes not typically associated with a primary clinical manifestation of BMF but also demonstrated reduced sensitivity for detecting low level acquired variants. In conclusion, genomic characterization can improve diagnostic categorization of patients presenting with hypoplastic BMF syndromes and should be routinely performed in this group of patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2019.237693DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7776333PMC
January 2021

Red cell transfusion in outpatients with myelodysplastic syndromes: a feasibility and exploratory randomised trial.

Br J Haematol 2020 04 20;189(2):279-290. Epub 2020 Jan 20.

Department of Haematology, Leeds Teaching Hospitals, Leeds, United Kingdom.

Optimal red cell transfusion support in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) has not been tested and established. The aim of this study was to demonstrate feasibility of recruitment and follow-up in an outpatient setting with an exploratory assessment of quality of life (QoL) outcomes (EORTC QLQ-C30 and EQ-5D-5L). We randomised MDS patients to standardised transfusion algorithms comparing current restrictive transfusion thresholds (80 g/l, to maintain haemoglobin 85-100 g/l) with liberal thresholds (105 g/l, maintaining 110-125 g/l). The primary outcomes were measures of compliance to transfusion thresholds. Altogether 38 patients were randomised (n = 20 restrictive; n = 18 liberal) from 12 participating sites in UK, Australia and New Zealand. The compliance proportion for the intention-to-treat population was 86% (95% confidence interval 75-94%) and 99% (95-100%) for restrictive and liberal arms respectively. Mean pre-transfusion haemoglobin concentrations for restrictive and liberal arms were 80 g/l (SD6) and 97 g/l (SD7). The total number of red cell units transfused on study was 82 in the restrictive and 192 in the liberal arm. In an exploratory analysis, the five main QoL domains were improved for participants in the liberal compared to restrictive arm. Our findings support the feasibility and need for a definitive trial to evaluate the effect of different red cell transfusion thresholds on patient-centred outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.16347DOI Listing
April 2020

The systematic use of evidence-based methodologies and technologies enhances shared decision-making in the 2018 International Consensus Conference on Patient Blood Management.

Vox Sang 2020 Jan 10;115(1):60-71. Epub 2019 Nov 10.

European Blood Alliance (EBA), Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Background And Objectives: Patient Blood Management (PBM) aims to optimize the care of patients who might need a blood transfusion. The International Consensus Conference on PBM (ICC-PBM) aimed to develop evidence-based recommendations on three topics: preoperative anaemia, red blood cell transfusion thresholds and implementation of PBM programmes. This paper reports how evidence-based methodologies and technologies were used to enhance shared decision-making in formulating recommendations during the ICC-PBM.

Materials & Methods: Systematic reviews on 17 PICO (Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcomes) questions were conducted by a Scientific Committee (22 international topic experts and one methodologist) according to GRADE (Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development and Evaluation) methodology. Evidence-based recommendations were formulated using Consensus Development Conference methodology.

Results: We screened 17 607 references and included 145 studies. The overall certainty in the evidence of effect estimates was generally low or very low. During the ICC, plenary sessions (100-200 stakeholders from a range of clinical disciplines and community representatives) were followed by closed sessions where multidisciplinary decision-making panels (>50 experts and patient organizations) formulated recommendations. Two chairs (content-expert and methodologist) moderated each session and two rapporteurs documented the discussions. The Evidence-to-Decision template (GRADEpro software) was used as the central basis in the process of formulating recommendations.

Conclusion: This ICC-PBM resulted in 10 clinical and 12 research recommendations supported by an international stakeholder group of experts in blood transfusion. Systematic, rigorous and transparent evidence-based methodology in a formal consensus format should be the new standard to evaluate (cost-) effectiveness of medical treatments, such as blood transfusion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/vox.12852DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7004058PMC
January 2020

Is Platelet Expiring Out of Date? A Systematic Review.

Transfus Med Rev 2020 01 23;34(1):42-50. Epub 2019 Oct 23.

Transfusion Research Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia; Monash Health, Melbourne, Australia. Electronic address:

Current platelet concentrates are perishable blood products with short shelf lives. Combined with often unpredictable demand, this results in platelet inventory management problems, manifested by high rates of outdating frequently reported at 10% to 20%, and sometimes inadequate clinical supply. The objective of this study was to critically review the published methodologies on measures to reduce platelet outdating rates, in order to determine how platelet outdating and availability can be improved. We performed a systematic review of journal articles published in English to May 2019 identified from MEDLINE, with reported methods to improve platelet inventory outdating rates and availability. The complexity of each methodology was scored based on whether a typical blood bank manager could design, implement and run a platelet outdating program based on the methodology. Twenty-four relevant citations were found-these included 8 citations employing operational research (OR) methodologies, 7 evaluation/best practice, 6 simulation and 3 forecasting. Over half the included studies have been published within the last decade. The citations reporting the lowest predicted outdating were also the most complex methods. Overall predicted outdating and shortages were less than 4% based on the available data. In conclusion, we found that research interest in platelet inventory management problems has increased in line with platelet demand and methods to assist in reducing outdating rates without increased shortages have been available now for 4 decades; high rates of platelet outdating do however continue to be reported around the world. Developments in platelet preparation and storage, and other new approaches, may assist in addressing this problem.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tmrv.2019.08.006DOI Listing
January 2020

The cost of blood: a study of the total cost of red blood cell transfusion in patients with β-thalassemia using time-driven activity-based costing.

Transfusion 2019 11 30;59(11):3386-3395. Epub 2019 Oct 30.

Transfusion Research Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Background: To accurately quantify the costs of care for patients with transfusion-dependent thalassemia (TDT), and to evaluate cost-effectiveness of new treatments, data are required on costs of regular red blood cell (RBC) transfusions. However, no previous studies have evaluated the costs of RBC transfusion specifically in chronically transfused patients.

Methods And Materials: We performed a time-driven activity-based costing (TDABC) study using a health care provider perspective. This was performed over a 1-month period, capturing every step of the transfusion pathway for patients with TDT at a designated provider of specialist thalassemia services in Australia. Detailed process maps were developed to outline treatments and processes directly related to transfusion. For each process map, detailed data collection, including timing of activities, was performed multiple times to account for variation in practice. Costs associated with RBC transfusion were broken down into fixed, process, and RBC procurement costs.

Results: The total per-unit cost was US$695.59 (95% confidence interval, US$694.45-US$696.73). Approximately 40% of cost was for procurement of the RBC unit, with process costs accounting for 55%. The single largest contributor to process costs was attributed to iron chelation medication (approximately 80%). In sensitivity analyses, seniority of staff, time to perform processes, and probabilities of different processes occurring did not substantially influence the RBC transfusion cost; however the number of RBC units per transfusion episode did impact the overall cost per RBC unit.

Conclusions: We found significant costs associated with RBC transfusion for TDT, with the product cost contributing less than one-half of the total cost.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/trf.15558DOI Listing
November 2019

It is time to reconsider the risks of transfusing RhD negative females of childbearing potential with RhD positive red blood cells in bleeding emergencies.

Transfusion 2019 12 18;59(12):3794-3799. Epub 2019 Oct 18.

Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/trf.15569DOI Listing
December 2019