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Keywords:

  • Australia;
  • blood transfusion;
  • Jehovah's Witness;
  • recombinant FVIIa;
  • registry

Abstract

Introduction

The Australian and New Zealand Haemostasis Registry (ANZHR) included patients who received off-licence recombinant activated factor VII (rFVIIa) for critical bleeding from 2000 to 2009. Approximately 1.3% of the ANZHR patients were Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs). We compared them with the non-JW patients in the registry.

Methods

Patient characteristics (e.g. gender, context of bleeding), factors influencing rFVIIa use (e.g. body temperature and pH) and outcomes (e.g. bleeding response (stopped/attenuated or unchanged) to rFVIIa, mortality) were compared between JW and non-JW patients using Fisher's exact chi-square tests and Kruskal-Wallis tests.

Results

A total of 42 JW and 3134 non-JW patients were included in the analysis. Approximately 99% (n = 3098) of non-JWs received blood products compared with only 30% (n = 13) of JWs (P < 0.01). The distribution of gender and contexts of critical bleeding in the two groups was significantly different. Approximately 17% of the non-JW patients were hypothermic (T < 35°C) and about 19% were acidotic (pH < 7.2) at the time of initial rFVIIa administration. Conversely, none of the JWs were hypothermic and only one was acidotic. The proportion of positive responders to rFVIIa (stopped/attenuated bleeding following rFVIIa use) was similar in both groups (75% non-JWs, 74% JWs; P = 1.0). Approximately 28% of non-JW and 17% of JW patients were deceased by day 28 following rFVIIa use (P = 0.16).

Discussion

Several factors were observed to be significantly different between JW and non-JW patients, yet the proportions of responders to rFVIIa were similar in both groups. The actual factors influencing response to rFVIIa are yet to be determined.