American College of Surgeons gives tips on conserving blood supply amid US shortage

The American College of Surgeons stressed the important role surgeons play in patient blood management in guidance released Aug. 11 for conserving blood supplies during the current national blood shortage. 

Five things to know: 

  1. The blood shortage, which the American College of Surgeons described as "unprecedented," has been spurred by an increase in surgical services after the first major wave of COVID-19 in the U.S. Trauma services have also increased by 10 percent since 2019, the organization said. Social distancing, masking rules, the need for personal protective equipment and more have slowed blood donation efforts.

  2. Increasing the supply of blood and blood products will take a three-pronged approach, the organization said: optimizing the production of red blood cells, minimizing blood loss and managing anemia.

  3. The organization said it is essential for surgeons to set transfusion goals for the entire care team to avoid over- and under-transfusion. Tracking blood usage metrics also helps to inform providers of their utilization patterns.

  4. Additional efforts to conserve blood supply include managing anticoagulants, clotting factors, fibrinogen, platelets and fibrinolysis.

  5. The organization also encouraged surgeons and healthcare facilities to work with their local blood banks and the American Red Cross to promote blood donation efforts.

    "As long as demand for blood and blood productions remains high, it is important to emphasize local efforts for improving the overall supply of blood products," the organization wrote. 

Read the full news release here

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