Single Unit Blood Transfusions

The Patient Blood Management (PBM) recommendations endorsed by NHS England state (2014):

'Transfuse one dose of blood component at a time e.g. one unit of red cells or platelets in non-bleeding patients and reassess the patient clinically and with a further blood count to determine if further transfusion is needed.'

The British Committee for standards in Haematology (BCSH) have released an addendum to the Blood Component administration guidelines which supports a single unit transfusion policy.

Single unit transfusion applies to stable, normovolaemic adult in-patients who do not have evidence of clinically significant bleeding.

A pilot study run in partnership with NHSBT and Kings College Hospital to introduce a single unit transfusion policy for non-bleeding medical patients in an AMU has resulted in a 40-45% reduction in red cell use over a 6 month period. Implementing this change in practice has involved a period of training for both clinical and laboratory staff and changes to policy.

The following documents were developed during this pilot and by the PBM Team to support the implementation of this recommendation in hospitals across the country.

They are in a format that can be adapted to suit local practices. These documents can suit local practices but we do ask for them to be acknowledged to the PBM Single Unit Pilot Project.