Medical experts have said use of blood transfusion in
treating patients is not evidence-based medical practice.
The experts also noted that transfusion of blood into
patients was unsafe and expensive.
At a two-day scientific conference organised by the
Bloodless Medicine and Surgery Society, University of
Calabar Teaching Hospital, Cross River State, the
Education and Curriculum Director of the BMSS, Prof. Etim
Ekanem, told SUNDAY PUNCH that a curriculum would be
developed to keep Nigerian medical personnel abreast of
“Apart from the dangers of blood transfusion and blood
products management, blood is becoming scarce due to
fewer donors and to process few units of blood is
“A unit of blood can cost about N15, 000 excluding the
cost of managing a patient,” Ekanem said.
According to the Head, Bloodless Surgery Unit, UCTH, Dr.
Nathaniel Usoro, medical scientists have not proven the
efficacy of blood transfusion.
“Modern practice of medicine is evidence-based, and use
of any therapy requires proof of efficacy. After decades
of blood transfusion, medical scientists are unable to
prove its efficacy.
“Rather, evidence of harm continues to accumulate, not
just hazards, but adverse outcome in transfused patients
compared to non-transfused patients,” he said.
Usoro also drew attention to the risks involved in blood
According to him, when screening blood for donation,
laboratories usually test for only HIV, hepatitis B, C and
“Even in good laboratories, donor blood is routinely tested
for only four pathogens: HIV, hepatitis B, C and syphilis.
Many laboratories do not test at all,” he said.
During blood transfusion, he said the blood recipient
could be exposed to “transmission of infection, delayed
hemolytic, allergic and febrile reactions.”
Other risks, he said, included circulatory overload, iron
overload, hypothermia and clerical error.
“We have made several presentations on bloodless care
to hospitals in various parts of the country. We have also
made several presentations to professional bodies.
However, many doctors are unaware of the newer
information regarding transfusion, while some are stuck
to medical tradition and resist change regarding
transfusion practices,” Usoro said.