BMJ Open 2018 05 18;8(5):e019912. Epub 2018 May 18.
Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Objective: To assess the impact of behaviour modification interventions to promote restrictive red blood cell (RBC) transfusion practices.
Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis.
Setting, Participants, Interventions: Seven electronic databases were searched to January 2018. Published randomised controlled trials (RCTs) or non-randomised studies examining an intervention to modify healthcare providers' RBC transfusion practice in any healthcare setting were included.
Primary And Secondary Outcomes: The primary outcome was the proportion of patients transfused. Secondary outcomes included the proportion of inappropriate transfusions, RBC units transfused per patient, in-hospital mortality, length of stay (LOS), pretransfusion haemoglobin and healthcare costs. Meta-analysis was conducted using a random-effects model and meta-regression was performed in cases of heterogeneity. Publication bias was assessed by Begg's funnel plot.
Results: Eighty-four low to moderate quality studies were included: 3 were RCTs and 81 were non-randomised studies. Thirty-one studies evaluated a single intervention, 44 examined a multimodal intervention. The comparator in all studies was standard of care or historical control. In 33 non-randomised studies, use of an intervention was associated with reduced odds of transfusion (OR 0.63 (95% CI 0.56 to 0.71)), odds of inappropriate transfusion (OR 0.46 (95% CI 0.36 to 0.59)), RBC units/patient weighted mean difference (WMD: -0.50 units (95% CI -0.85 to -0.16)), LOS (WMD: -1.14 days (95% CI -2.12 to -0.16)) and pretransfusion haemoglobin (-0.28 g/dL (95% CI -0.48 to -0.08)). There was no difference in odds of mortality (OR 0.90 (95% CI 0.80 to 1.02)). Protocol/algorithm and multimodal interventions were associated with the greatest decreases in the primary outcome. There was high heterogeneity among estimates and evidence for publication bias.
Conclusions: The literature examining the impact of interventions on RBC transfusions is extensive, although most studies are non-randomised. Despite this, pooled analysis of 33 studies revealed improvement in the primary outcome. Future work needs to shift from asking, 'does it work?' to 'what works best and at what cost?'
Prospero Registration Number: CRD42015024757.