10:03am Tuesday 31 March 2020

Blood transfusions to be the centre of new research

blood bag

Focusing on life saving blood transfusions for people who are critically ill, the research has been made possible through a $1.5 million grant from the National Health and Medical Research Centre.

Professor Jamie Cooper, Director of Monash University Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Research Centres (ANZIC-RC) and Deputy Director and Head of Intensive Care Unit Research at the Alfred said his team would focus on life saving blood transfusions for people with bleeding from trauma, surgery, liver disease and women who need a transfusion after giving birth.

Professor Cooper said the funding would lead to the development of innovative new ways to increase the efficiency of blood transfusions.

“Blood transfusions cost Australia more than $1 billion each year and are one of the most common procedure in Australian hospitals. They are vital for the survival of many critically ill patients, and as such we will be testing patient outcomes including alternatives to transfusion in critically ill patients in hospitals,” Professor Cooper said.

“We will also look at other alternatives, including the use of fresher blood, frozen blood and platelets, giving iron in-hospital to reduce the need for blood and novel blood component therapy for ambulances.”

A critical component of the project will see an improvement in the management of blood transfusions in Australia and New Zealand through the expansion of the Massive Transfusion Registry from six to more than 50 hospitals over a three-year period.

The MTR aims to measure outcomes of patients who have had massive transfusion and the impact of changes to the blood transfusion services. It builds on work being undertaken at the Centre of Research Excellence for Patient Blood Management in Critical Illness and Trauma at Monash University.

“This investment from the NHMRC at Monash aims to address this urgent health priority. The overarching goal is to deliver blood transfusion more efficiently and cost effectively, in a way that is more sustainable as the population grows older,” Professor Cooper said.

Major health conditions requiring massive blood transfusion include trauma, obstetric haemorrhage, bleeding from liver disease, and young people suffering from leukaemia and lymphoma.

The research is being undertaken in conjunction with the Australian Blood Service and the National Blood Authority.

Monash University 

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