Dr. Kevin Land

Dr. Kevin Land

Dr. Kevin Land, Senior Medical Director for Field Operations at Blood Systems International, joins Dr. Chaffin for an episode of “Blood Bank MythBusters!” Like urban legends, many things in transfusion medicine are taken for granted as absolute truth, when in fact some of those “facts” may not be totally true (if at all). Dr. Land, who has extensive experience consulting with both hospitals and blood centers on best practices, takes an interesting and sometimes hilarious look at four of those beliefs, and (SPOILER ALERT!) flat-out busts some of them as myths!

Here are the four beliefs Dr. Land and Dr. Chaffin discuss:

  1. The biggest risk from transfusion is getting a viral disease
  2. Donors with type O-negative blood are universal blood donors and their blood is safe for everyone
  3. Blood is bad! Transfusing leads to increased mortality
  4. Younger, fresher blood is better than older, stored blood

Use the player above to listen to Episode 008 of the BBGuy Essentials Podcast!

Get the transcript of this episode.


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DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed on this episode are those of my guest and I alone, and do not reflect those of the organizations with which either of us is affiliated. Neither Dr. Land nor I have any relevant financial disclosures.

The images below are generously provided by Dr. Land.

Land slide 1 - Transfusion Mortality
Land slide 2 - Transfusion infections in perspective
Land slide 3 - Male risk of anti-D formation in trauma
Land slide 4 - AABB Choosing Wisely
Land slide 5 - Study in Kaiser Patients
Land slide 6 - Target study; causation vs. association
Land slide 7 - Association vs Causation
Land slide 8 - Real relationship between transfusion and mortality

Time-Stamped Notes

  • 01:54: Intro to Dr. Land
  • 7:31: Statement 1: The biggest risk of transfusion or from transfusion is getting a viral disease
  • 13:30: True biggest reasons for transfusion death
  • 17:20: Statement 1 Conclusion: Busted or Confirmed?
  • 17:30: Statement 2: Blood donors that are type O negative are universal blood donors and their blood is safe for everyone
  • 22:27: What can hospitals do to safeguard the O negative supply?
  • 23:29: Five AABB “Choosing Wisely” statements
  • 30:51: Statement 2 Conclusion: Busted or Confirmed?
  • 31:14: Statement 3: Blood is bad. Transfusing leads to increased mortality
  • 34:15: Dr. Land’s “Target illustration” comparing causation vs. association
  • 43:05: Statement 3 Conclusion: Busted or Confirmed?
  • 44:20: Statement 4: Younger, fresher blood is better than older stored blood
  • 51:50: Conclusion for all statements: Busted or Confirmed?

Further Reading:

  • Roubinian Nareg et al. Decreased Red Blood Cell Use and Mortality in Hospitalized Patients. JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(8):1405-1407.
  • Steiner ME et al. Effects of Red-Cell Storage Duration on Patients Undergoing Cardiac Surgery (RECESS). N Engl J Med 2015;372:1419-29.
  • Lacroix J et al. Age of Transfused Blood in Critically Ill Adults (ABLE). N Engl J Med 2015; 372:1410-1418.

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