Care Standardization Reduces Blood Donor Exposures and Transfusion in Complex Cranial Vault Reconstruction


Complex cranial vault reconstruction (CCVR) often requires a large-volume transfusion of blood products. We implemented a series of improvement interventions to reduce blood donor exposures (BDE) and transfusion requirements in CCVR.


We implemented interventions over 4 epochs: (E1) reconstituted blood (1:1 ratio of donor-matched red blood cells and fresh-frozen plasma) for intraoperative transfusions, (E2) reconstituted blood plus postoperative transfusion guidelines, (E3) reconstituted blood plus intraoperative antifibrinolytics and postoperative guidelines, and (E4) fresh whole blood for intraoperative transfusion, antifibrinolytics, and postoperative guidelines. Primary outcomes, BDE, and total volume of blood products transfused are presented by using statistical process control charts, with statistical comparisons between each epoch and baseline data.


We included 347 patients <72 months old who underwent CCVR between 2008 and 2016 (E1: n = 50; E2: n = 41; E3: n = 87; and E4: n = 169). They were compared with a baseline sample group of 138 patients who were managed between 2001 and 2006. Compared with our baseline group, patients in each epoch had a significant reduction in BDE (P = .02–<.0001). Conversely, compared with the baseline group, we observed an increase the volume of blood products transfused in E1 (P = .004), no difference in E2 (P = .6) or E3 (P = .46), and a reduction in the volume of blood products transfused in E4 (P < .0001).


The implementation of sequential clinical improvement strategies resulted in a sustained reduction in BDE whereas only the use of whole blood resulted in a significant reduction in the total volume of blood products transfused in children undergoing CCVR.

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