Let’s Talk Plasma: Evidence-Based Transfusion

Premier Pulse     July 2019

Plasma can be an extremely useful component in our transfusion armamentarium, particularly as part of a massive hemorrhage protocol. However, prophylactic plasma is frequently utilized unnecessarily or incorrectly. Clear indications and contraindications exist in the literature and as part of several national and international guidelines from several professional societies. It is incumbent upon health care providers involved in transfusing blood products to understand these indications and contraindications to provide safe and effective transfusions for our patients.

This extended content, provided by Carolyn Burns, MD, patient blood management physician consultant, includes information about the types of plasma products, specifics of dosing, and timing of plasma transfusion. Dr. Burns’ abstract also features a solid review of evidence-based indications and a list of important current references.

Dr_Burns_HS_350x350Carolyn Burns, MD, is a board-certified pathologist (AP/CP). She served as medical director/chief of pathology for the Jewish Hospital Healthcare system’s department of Pathology in Louisville, Kentucky, from 1991 to 2011. Her work included medical directorship of surgical pathology, transfusion service, the Patient Blood Management (PBM) program, bloodless medicine and surgery, and tissue services for the five-hospital system. She currently sits on the advisory board and is guest lecturer for the Bellarmine University Clinical Laboratory Science Program, serving as the chair of the medical advisory board for the American Red Cross Blood Center, River Valley Region.

Dr. Burns is a passionate advocate for patient blood management, has been published in peer-reviewed journals and textbooks, and is often sought as an engaging speaker on diverse transfusion topics. She has worked as an independent PBM physician consultant since 2011. Her current interests also include laboratory management and utilization, another venue that promotes quality, safe, patient-centered care.

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