James P. AuBuchon, MD
Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: Consultancies: Baxter Healthcare, Cerus, Chiron Corp., Gambro, BCT, Immunetics, Navigant Biotechnologies, Pall Medical, Verax Biomedical, ZymeQuest; Grants received: Baxter Healthcare, Gambro BCT, Haemonetics, Immunetics, Navigant Biotechnologies, Pall Medical, Terumo, Verax Biomedical, ZymeQuest.
Current Author Address: James P. AuBuchon, MD, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, One Medical Center Drive, Lebanon, NH 03782; e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
AuBuchon JP. Meeting Transfusion Safety Expectations. Ann Intern Med. 2005;143:537-538. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-143-7-200510040-00012
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2005;143(7):537-538.
The public has high expectations for health care services, and this is certainly evident in its attention to virologic transmission risks in the blood supply. The focus of blood collectors, test manufacturers, and regulators on reducing the risk for transmission of HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) has resulted in dramatic reductions in these risks during the past 2 decades. However, linear continuation of this effort will result in inadequate attention being paid to problems that have greater impacts on transfusion recipients' morbidity and mortality and missed opportunities for substantial improvements in transfusion safety.
Since the mid-1980s, reductions in transmission risks for HIV and HCV by more than 4 orders of magnitude to less than 1 per million units have been accomplished through expanded criteria for screening donors and through improvements and expansions of blood testing technology (1). As a result of these improvements, I am comfortable offering assurance to patients, without having to append qualifying exculpations, that the blood supply is safe. When further improvements in HIV and HCV testing are available, they will undoubtedly be implemented, but actively focusing on infrequent events will yield only small health gains.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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