Essential Role of Patient Blood Management in a Pandemic: A Call for Action
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the dis- ease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a pandemic. Global health care now faces unprecedented challenges with widespread and rapid human-to-human transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and high morbidity and mortality with COVID-19 worldwide. Across the world, medical care is hampered by a critical shortage of not only hand sanitizers, personal protec- tive equipment, ventilators, and hospital beds, but also impediments to the blood supply. Blood donation centers in many areas around the globe have mostly closed. Donors, practicing social distancing, some either with illness or undergoing self-quarantine, are quickly diminishing. Drastic public health initiatives have focused on containment and “flattening the curve” while invaluable resources are being depleted. In some countries, the point has been reached at which the demand for such resources, including donor blood, outstrips the supply. Questions as to the safety of blood persist. Although it does not appear very likely that the virus can be transmitted through allogeneic blood transfusion, this still remains to be fully determined. As options dwindle, we must enact regional and national shortage plans worldwide and more vitally disseminate the knowledge of and immediately implement patient blood management (PBM). PBM is an evidence-based bundle of care to optimize medical and surgical patient outcomes by clinically managing and preserving a patient’s own blood. This multinational and diverse group of authors issue this “Call to Action” underscoring “The Essential Role of Patient Blood Management in the Management of Pandemics” and urging all stakeholders and providers to implement the practical and commonsense principles of PBM and its multiprofessional and multimodality approaches.