Introduction: Spikes in the demand for blood components represent a substantial challenge to transfusion services. Simple metrics for characterizing volatility in blood components within the hospital transfusion service have not been established.
Methods: We measured the volatility of demand for blood services at a large academic urban general hospital over a 6-month period from July 2019 to December 2019 prior to the SARS-CoV2 pandemic.
Results: Among 4416 consecutive hours assessed, there were 693 h (16%) with spikes in demand for blood components with a mean (sd) of 3.8 (2.7) spikes/day. Spikes in demand were frequently clustered. The median number of hours between spikes differed by shift (6 h for days; 3 h for evenings; 3 h for nights). The percentage of shift hours with demand spikes also differed (9% day; 19% evening; 18% night). During the study, 32,447 components were distributed to 19,431 patients. Of these, 11,819 components (36%) were distributed during hours of peak demand. Hours with a simultaneous spike in both component demand and patient demand occurred in 5% of hours or approximately once each day.
Conclusion: Demand for transfusion services was highly volatile in an unpredictable fashion. We provide an approach that could be used to benchmark spikes in demand for blood services at hospitals. Consideration of the frequency, unpredictability, and magnitude of spikes in demand may be relevant for hemovigilance programs and for strategies to determine the laboratory staffing needed for good patient care.
Walter ‘D. Spikes in demand for hospital transfusion services. Transfusion. 2021 Feb 12. doi: 10.1111/trf.16299. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33576069.