With an anticipated global shortage of immune globulin products, finding alternatives to IVIg can help improve availability of a drug in high demand. A recent study shows that eltrombopag, an oral medication that stimulates the production of platelets, is an effective alternative to IVIg for patients with immune thrombocytopenia who need surgery.
Dr. Celina Montemayor-Garcia on the potential of genomics to shape the future of transfusion medicine
Dr. Celina Montemayor-Garcia is a researcher and transfusion medicine specialist whose main interest is understanding how genomics and bioinformatics can be used to improve care for transfusion patients. She spoke to us about advances in precision medicine and genomics, and what they could mean for the future of blood systems.
Canada’s leading experts in transfusion medicine came together to collaborate on Treat the Bleed, a website that provides guidance for front-line physicians in treating bleeding patients.
With funding from Canadian Blood Services’ BloodTechNet Award Program, transfusion medicine specialists developed Learnserology.ca, an online curriculum that supports serology education.
COVID-19 has brought major implications for blood transfusion practices: uncertain demand patterns, reduced donations and loss of staff. A recent publication synthesizes studies that address the transfusion chain and provide guidance during times of potential or actual shortage. Dr. Mindy Goldman, medical director at Canadian Blood Services, is one of the study’s authors.
World Hemophilia Day, an international awareness day for hemophilia and other bleeding disorders, is held annually on April 17. Hemophilia, an inherited blood disorder that affects mostly men, impairs a person’s ability to clot blood. A study led by a researcher from the McMaster Centre for Transfusion Research suggests more men have hemophilia worldwide than previously thought, highlights the need for improved hemophilia care, and helps predict demand for the plasma protein products used to treat patients.
For patients who have cardiac surgery, the risk of severe blood loss is high if they have a condition called acquired hypofibrinogenemia — this means they have an undersupply of an essential blood clotting protein called fibrinogen. Doctors aim to minimize their bleeding with a fibrinogen replacement product, either cryoprecipitate or fibrinogen concentrate, to restore clotting factors to normal levels. A recent study that compared both products could have an impact on how cardiac patients are treated in Canada.
Although it doesn’t happen often, sometimes patients will have a bad reaction during or after a blood transfusion. Surveillance systems set up to monitor the safety of the blood supply in Canada keep track of incidents like these so that issues potentially affecting patient safety can be identified. A recently published guide on reporting adverse transfusion events, available on Canadian Blood Services’ professional education website, helps make the reporting process easier to understand.
When doctors select compatible red blood cell units for transfusion into a patient, they don’t consider the sex of the patient and whether the donor is the same (sex-matched) or opposite sex (sex-mismatched). But a study led by Dr. Michelle Zeller, Canadian Blood Services medical officer and assistant professor in the department of medicine at McMaster University, suggests that the role of donor sex in red blood cell compatibility may be worth a closer look.
When a patient has unexpected red blood cell antibodies (non-ABO) in their blood, selecting compatible red blood cell donor units for transfusion is critical. New serological best practices for health-care providers, available on Canadian Blood Service’s professional education website, help ensure patients receive red blood cell units that are the best match for them.