Approach for Safe Transfusion Practices during COVID-19 Pandemic: Observation of an Indian Rural Blood Bank
Professor, Second Floor, Department of Pathology, SDUMC, Kolar, Karnataka, India.
Introduction: Focus of blood transfusion services is continuous, judicious and well-timed supply of safe blood. The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has caused the major disruption throughout the world and declaration of nationwide lockdown by Government of India from 25th March 2020 to 31st May 2020 to halt the spread of virus has afflicted the blood bank services enormously.
Aim: To keep the focal point on approaches implemented for safe blood transfusion services during Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in rural blood bank and to observe how COVID-19 pandemic has affected blood transfusion services in year 2020 with regards to blood collection, supply and organisation of camps as compared to year 2019.
Materials and Methods: A retrospective study was done in the Blood Bank in a rural tertiary care hospital in Southern India, from January 2019 to December 2020. Various measures were implemented to increase the donor safety and prevention of spread to community and to increase the number of voluntary donors. Statistical analysis performed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software version 21.0. All data was entered and tabulated in excel sheet. A two sided t-test was utilised for comparing dual variables and one sided Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) for multiple variables. The p-value <0.05 was considered significant.
Results: Mean number of units received during pre-COVID-19 year were significantly higher (4468±4127.2) as compared to COVID-19 year 2020 (2282±1856.4) with significant p-value <0.001. Overall utilisation of Packed Red Blood Cell (PRBC) (0.001), Human Platelets (Single Donor Platelets (SDP)/Random Donor platelets (RDP)) p-value 0.003, Fresh Frozen Plasma) FFP (p-value 0.001) was significantly higher in pre-COVID-19 year as compared to COVID-19 year 2020. Total number of camps conducted in pre-COVID-19 year was 41 as compared to 23 in COVID-19 year 2020. Patients deferred for blood donation were much higher in COVID-19 year 2020 (n=400) with maximum (32.5%) under category of self-deferral due to clinical illness as compared to year 2019 (n=200).
Conclusion: As a result of our strict and effective implementation of COVID-19 safety protocols, no donor had complained of post donation COVID related symptoms and none of our blood bank staff had developed any COVID-19 related illness. Hence during the COVID-19 pandemic, our blood bank maintained 100% attendance (with staggered duty hours).