Science and history intersected during Patient Blood Management: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, Yavapai Regional Medical Center’s (YRMC’s) 6th Annual Patient Blood Management (PBM) Symposium.

Approximately 350 people – PBM advocates from across the southwest, physicians, nurses, college students and more – gathered for the 2018 PBM Symposium at Yavapai College Performing Arts Center in Prescott. Throughout the world, even more streamed the Symposium live on laptops, smart phones and other devices.

“It was the best of both worlds,” said Dale Black, Patient Blood Management Program Coordinator at YRMC. “Our guests enjoyed a pre-Symposium reception that included an array of appetizers, lots of friendly conversation and information from our industry partners who support YRMC’s vision for Patient Blood Management.”

Industry leaders who joined YRMC at the PBM Symposium include:

  • Instrumentation Laboratory
  • Daiichi Sankyo, Inc.
  • Haemonetics
  • Baxter

“During the Symposium,” said Black, “we welcomed guests from throughout the globe who live-streamed the event. All Symposium participants took away new information about the value of PBM and the leadership role YRMC plays in PBM.”

If you missed the Symposium, we’ve collected some highlights to get you up to speed on PBM’s science, history and future.

#1 Patient Blood Management wasn’t built in a day.

The 6th Annual PBM Symposium coincided with YRMC’s 75th anniversary, a perfect opportunity to highlight the history of PBM, courtesy of Pierre Tibi, MD, FACS, Cardiothoracic Surgeon and Medical Director of the James Family Heart Center at YRMC West.

Dr. Tibi said the idea of transfusing blood goes back to 1556, but the first actual human-to-human “blood transfer” happened in 1818. Fast forward to the early 1900s for another milestone: the identification of human blood types—A, B, AB and O.

Soon after, a test that allowed physicians to ensure blood compatibility before transfusing patients was introduced.

Another big breakthrough coincided with World War II as researchers discovered how to break down blood into components and products. Plasma – a blood product – saved the lives of many wounded soldiers during the war.

#2 Blood is one tough tissue.

Daniel Beck, MD, Anesthesiologist at Prescott Anesthesia, emphasized that blood – a connective tissue – actually functions like a complex, multifaceted organ.

Comprised of water, electrolytes, small molecules, proteins and cells, blood performs many significant roles in the body. For example, Dr. Beck highlighted the important job performed by one of our two types of white blood cells.

“These white blood cells repair all types of tissue damage,” said Dr. Beck. “The repairs range from paper cuts to broken bones and all of the way to heart attacks.”

#3 When it comes to the safety of our blood supply the expression, “we don’t know, what we don’t know,” applies.

Medical experts in the United States agree that our blood supply is the safest it has ever been when it comes to disease transmission.

“The concern is always about unknown infectious diseases,” said Elizabeth Black, Data Manager and Administrative Assistant, YRMC’s PBM Program. “Current blood testing measures are only going to test for infectious diseases we know about. You can’t test for something if you don’t know it exists.”

#4 Storing your own blood for surgery comes with some potential complications.

Storing your blood for use during and after surgery sounds like an ideal way to prevent the transfusion of a virus. However, autologous blood donation – as it’s called – may lead to anemia, which can slow recovery.

“Even your own blood is stored blood,” said Elizabeth Black. “It is not the same quality as the fresh blood moving through our bodies or the blood that’s taken immediately before surgery.”

#5 Physicians and PBM experts know: If you don’t use it, you won’t lose it.

YRMC’s thriving Structural Heart Program demonstrates how medicine is integrating PBM into its less invasive procedures.

Soundos Moualla, MD, FACC, FSCAI, Interventional Cardiologist at the James Family Heart Center at YRMC West, uses less-invasive procedures and advanced technologies to help people previously considered too high-risk for surgery. These procedures require small skin punctures, rather than major incisions.

“These new technologies allow us to safely perform minimally invasive procedures,” said Dr. Moualla. “The procedures do not require blood use and typically there is no blood loss.”

#6 New procedures at YRMC’s Heart Center support PBM principles.

In the 1980s, cardiology took its first steps in this direction with the introduction of cardiac stenting, which allowed some patients to forego open heart surgery. Today, many heart procedures are minimally invasive, including these which are available at the James Family Heart Center at YRMC West.

  • Left Atrial Appendage Closure (WATCHMAN)
  • Mitral Valve Repair with MitraClip
  • Paravalvular Leak Closure (PVL)
  • Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

#7 Your YRMC providers are your PBM partners.

PBM is at its best when there is strong communication between nurses, patients, family members and other patient advocates. This is standard operating procedure at YRMC.

“We’ll literally report at your bedside to involve you and your family,” said YRMC’s Selina Bliss, MS, PhD, RN. “This allows us to clearly communicate a care plan for your anemia.”

YRMC’s multi-disciplinary team – advanced clinical practitioners, dietitians, medical laboratory professionals, nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, physicians and more – also share their best practices for preventing patient anemia during “Lunch and Learn” programs.

Recently, YRMC’s Emergency Department team outlined how early admission of a medication to treat excessive blood loss has helped patients experiencing traumatic bleeding. The ICU staff shared a successful strategy to monitor hemoglobin counts – a low count may indicate anemia – as a way of reducing the frequency of patient blood draws, which can lead to anemia.

#8 Researchers are applying leading-edge science to the study of blood.

Creating a blood substitute…developing a universal blood type…transforming human stem cells into units of blood…all of these and more are under research today.

“Scientists are looking for the optimal artificial human blood that can carry oxygen to our tissues without any of the biological baggage associated with a unit of blood,” explained Jared Head, AGACNP-BC, Hospitalist, NAZ Hospitalist.

#9 PBM’s future is now.

During the PBM Symposium, Dale Black, PBM Program Coordinator, spoke with Tucson resident Anthony Caballero about the extensive heart procedures he underwent at YRMC’s Heart Center, all using PBM principles.

Even as researchers race toward an array of alternatives to blood transfusions, most medical experts point to PBM as the most effective way to safely care for patients.

“What we are doing now may well be the future,” stated Head. “Keeping blood inside of the body and minimizing the number of blood draws to harness anemia—these and other PBM strategies may be the future of transfusion medicine.”

#10 PBM is making a difference at YRMC today.

YRMC has experienced an impressive reduction in the use of blood products, thanks to its hospital-wide PBM Program.

“YRMC launched its PBM Program in 2012,” said Diane Drexler, RN, BSN, MBA, FACHE, Chief Nursing Officer at YRMC. “Since then, our use of red blood cells and fresh frozen plasma has declined by 32 percent and 61 percent, respectively.”

Why is this decline good news for YRMC’s patients? It means YRMC’s surgeons and other physicians are minimizing patients’ blood loss and reducing unnecessary transfusions. And, as studies have shown, both of these PBM strategies can improve patient outcomes and speed recovery.

For more information about YRMC’s Patient Blood Management Program, visit us here.