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‘Patient blood management can overcome blood shortage’
  • By Song Soo-youn
  • Published 2017.12.01 15:49
  • Updated 2017.12.01 15:49
  • comments 0

To overcome chronic blood shortages, the government should adopt the Patient Blood Management (PBM) system as soon as possible, experts said on Friday. The PBM system is a multidisciplinary treating system to minimize blood transfusion.

The Korean Society for Patient Blood Management (KPBM) urged the government to adopt the PBM system at a news conference, held during the “International Symposium of Patient Blood Management 2017 Seoul” at the Grand Walkerhill Hotel in Seoul.

Because of population aging, people aged between 10 and 30 who are more likely to donate blood are shrinking while those aged 50 who receive transfusion are increasing. To brace for an aged society, Korea needs measures to resolve the blood shortage issue, and PBM is one of them, the organization said.

The Korean Society for Patient Blood Management runs “International Symposium of Patient Blood Management (ISOPBM) 2017 Seoul” at the Grand Walkerhill Hotel in Gwangjin-gu, Seoul, on Friday. The society urged the government to adopt a Patient Blood Management system at a news conference.

Experts from advanced countries that have adopted the PBM system said the adoption of PBM would be more helpful for patients than putting a priority on blood transfusion.

Axel Hofmann, a professor at the University of Western Australia, conducted a six-year observation study on more than 600,000 patients under the PBM system at four tertiary hospitals in Western Australia. Study results showed that the hospitals’ transfusion or use of transfusion-related products went down by 41 percent. Patients treated under PBM had a 28 percent lower chance of in-hospital mortality, a 21 percent lower chance of hospital-acquired infection, and a 15 percent reduction in hospital stay.

Hofmann said most of the medical institutions in Australia had adopted PBM, and 25 percent of the U.S. hospitals have also done so. Australia started the discussion for PBM adoption in 2008 and established PBM guidelines in late 2010. The total blood transfusion in Australia is reportedly half the size of that in the U.S.

“An example of PBM is to examine the hemoglobin level, and if it is low, the hospital gives treatment to raise the hemoglobin level first, before the patient gets an operation. If we compare this to an oil tank, we’re trying to fill the oil tank full and then have an operation,” Hofmann said.

He went on to say, “If the tank is filled, PBM is about minimizing the loss of blood during surgery. It is about giving proper treatment. Australia replaced existing transfusion guidelines with PBM guidelines.”

Kim Young-woo, president of the KPBM and chief at the National Cancer Center’s gastric cancer branch, said Korea’s use of blood is double the size of that of Japan, although Japan’s aged population is larger than Korea’s.

“Under the government’s guidelines, blood transfusion is recommended only when the patient’s hemoglobin level goes down to below 7g/dl. But in reality, transfusion is done more widely. Through PBM which aims at appropriate transfusion and alternative treatments, Korea should reduce the use of blood,” Kim said.

Others expressed caution against associating transfusion with a negative image.

Um Tae-hyun, a research head at the KPBM and a professor at Ilsan Paik Hospital, said existing transfusion was not inappropriate. Instead, medical technology advancement has led to alternative treatments that replaced transfusion, he said.

“PBM seeks the optimal treatment, after meticulously reviewing whether the patient would need a transfusion or not,” Um said.


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