Massive transfusion experience, current practice and decision support: A survey of Australian and New Zealand anaesthetists

Brenton J. Sanderson, Jeremy D. Field, Lise J. Estcourt, Erica M. Wood, Enrico W. Coiera

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Massive transfusions guided by massive transfusion protocols are commonly used to manage critical bleeding, when the patient is at significant risk of morbidity and mortality, and multiple timely decisions must be made by clinicians. Clinical decision support systems are increasingly used to provide patient-specific recommendations by comparing patient information to a knowledge base, and have been shown to improve patient outcomes. To investigate current massive transfusion practice and the experiences and attitudes of anaesthetists towards massive transfusion and clinical decision support systems, we anonymously surveyed 1000 anaesthetists and anaesthesia trainees across Australia and New Zealand. A total of 228 surveys (23.6%) were successfully completed and 227 were analysed for a 23.3% response rate. Most respondents were involved in massive transfusions infrequently (88.1% managed five or fewer massive transfusion protocols per year) and worked at hospitals which have massive transfusion protocols (89.4%). Massive transfusion management was predominantly limited by timely access to point-of-care coagulation assessment and by competition with other tasks, with trainees reporting more significant limitations compared to specialists. The majority of respondents reported that they were likely, or very likely, both to use (73.1%) and to trust (85%) a clinical decision support system for massive transfusions, with no significant difference between anaesthesia trainees and specialists (P = 0.375 and P = 0.73, respectively). While the response rate to our survey was poor, there was still a wide range of massive transfusion experience among respondents, with multiple subjective factors identified limiting massive transfusion practice. We identified several potential design features and barriers to implementation to assist with the future development of a clinical decision support system for massive transfusion, and overall wide support for a clinical decision support system for massive transfusion among respondents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214–221
Number of pages8
JournalAnaesthesia and Intensive Care
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2021


  • Blood transfusion
  • clinical decision-making
  • computer-assisted
  • decision-making
  • haemorrhage
  • survey

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