BACKGROUND: Platelet (PLT) transfusions are essential for patients who are bleeding or have an increased risk of bleeding due to a decreased number or abnormal function of circulating PLTs. A shelf life of 5 days for PLT products presents an inventory management challenge. In 2006, greater than 10% of apheresis PLTs made in the United States outdated. It is imperative to have a sufficient number of products for patients requiring transfusion, but outdating PLTs is a financial burden and a waste of a resource.
STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: We present the approach used in our institution to anticipate inventory needs based on current patient census and usage. Strategies to predict usage and to identify changes in anticipated usage are examined. Annual outdating is reviewed for a 10-year period from 2000 through 2009.
RESULTS: From January 1, 2000, through December 2009, there were 128,207 PLT transfusions given to 15,265 patients. The methods used to anticipate usage and adjust inventory resulted in an annual outdate rate of approximately 1% for the 10-year period reviewed. In addition we have not faced situations where inventory was inadequate to meet the needs of the patients requiring transfusions.
CONCLUSION: We have identified three elements of our transfusion service that can minimize outdate: a knowledgeable proactive staff dedicated to PLT management, a comprehensive computer-based transfusion history for each patient, and a strong two-way relationship with the primary product supplier. Through our comprehensive program, based on the principles of providing optimal patient care, we have minimized PLT outdating for more than 10 years.