Blood Transfusion Case Study

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Blood Transfusion Case Study

Name: _____________________________ Date: _____________________ Class: NUR 438

Brief Patient History

Mr. S is a 75-year-old man who has a long history of chronic atrial fibrillation treated with warfarin, CHF, ESRD, and DM II. Over the past week, Mr. S has experienced intermittent epigastric pain and black stools. He is now dizzy and weak.

Clinical Assessment

Mr. S is admitted to the intensive care unit from the emergency department. He recently began taking ciprofloxacin for a urinary tract infection. He also has been taking an aspirin each day because he heard it was good for you. Also, he recently began taking over-the-counter ibuprofen for his stomach pain and general aches.

Diagnostic Procedures

Mr. S’s admission laboratory work reveals a hemoglobin level of 7 g/dL and an international normalized ratio (INR) of 7. His baseline vital signs include the following: blood pressure of 80/60 mm Hg, heart rate of 150 beats/min (atrial fibrillation), respiratory rate of 30 breaths/min, SPO2 92%, and temperature of 37.3 degrees Celsius.

Medical Diagnosis

Diagnosis is acute gastrointestinal bleeding

Nursing Actions

You have started and finished the FFP, and are currently transfusing the allogenic PRBCs. Ten minutes after starting the PRBC transfusion, Mr. S begins to C/O back pain, chills, and SOB. After taking his oral temperature you note it is now 38.8 degrees Celsius. He appears anxious, and is pulling at his lines and tubes.

1. What is this patient’s mean arterial pressure (MAP)? Is his MAP adequate, and why? Please show your work for the math equation.

2. What signs and symptoms may Mr. S exhibit secondary to his low H&H laboratory values?

3. What is the importance of administering the FFP prior to the PRBC’s in Mr. S’s case?

4. What should the length of time be to transfuse Mr. S’s PRBC’s, and why?

5. Mr. S is O positive blood type. What blood types can he receive, and what blood types can receive his blood type?

6. What is the importance of Rh factor when considered which type of blood to administer to patients?

7. What does allogenic mean? What does autologous mean?

8. What do you think is occurring with Mr. S?

9. What should be your immediate actions/interventions?

10. What nursing diagnoses should you give for this patient?

11. What education can be provided to this patient upon discharge?

A 40-year-old woman presents with marked right upper quadrant pain that she has experienced off and on for the past day. Abdominal ultrasound reveals gallstones and your surgical team decides to perform a cholecystectomy. Your resident asked you to write pre-operative orders and to include a “type and screen”. While performing this assigned task, your intern looks at the orders, makes a condescending remark, and tells you to order a “type and crossmatch” for four units.


  1. What is a “type”?
  2. What is a “screen”?
  3. What is the cost of a “type and screen”?
  4. What is a “type and cross”?
  5. What does a “type and cross” cost?
  6. How does a type and crossmatch impact the Blood Bank inventory?
Further History:
You decide to order a type and screen. During the cholecystectomy the patient starts hemorrhaging. The Blood Bank is told to crossmatch 8 units of blood. The Blood Bank informs you that the crossmatch will take 45 minutes, but type specific blood is available immediately, if a physician will sign an Emergency Release Form. The patient’s blood pressure is dropping quickly, but your intern tells the Blood Bank to have the crossmatched blood ready in 10 minutes, or else. The intern refuses to take blood unless it is crossmatched.


  1. What should be done?
  2. What is the risk of a hemolytic transfusion reaction with type specific blood, if the screen is negative?
  3. Were you wrong for not getting blood crossmatched preoperatively?




The next day your surgical team responds to a Trauma One call to find an 18-year-old woman status post motor vehicle accident flown in by Air Med from a remote location. She is transfused during transport. She remains hypotensive and she is immediately taken to the operating room with obvious abdominal trauma.


  1. What blood was issued to the Air Med team?
Further History:
The Blood Bank informs the OR that a blood sample was received which was not clearly labeled, and the Blood Bank requires a new specimen. Your intern takes the phone and tells the Blood Bank that he personally drew the sample and that the label was fine.


  1. What should you do?
  2. What information is required on the specimen clot tube?
  3. Why is this information important?
  4. What is an appropriate course of action for hospital administration to deal with this intern?
Further History:
The patient has used 8 units of O-neg packed red cells up to that point, and another 8 units of O-neg packed cells are in the OR. Another 10 units of A-neg packed cells are delivered to the OR (a total of 18 additional units available). The anesthesiologist says she does not want to use the A-neg blood because her literature recommends staying with Type O-blood after 6 units of O-blood are used on a patient.


  1. Which blood type should be given to the patient? Why?
  2. Why might the anesthesiologist be confused?
  3. The Blood Bank may ask you for yet another clot tube in a trauma situation. Why?
Further History:
The pathologist in charge of the Blood Bank calls into the OR requesting an update on the condition of the patient. At that point in time the patient has used some fresh frozen plasma, platelets, 16 units of O-neg packed RBC’s, and 15 units of A-neg packed RBC’s.


  1. What decision does the pathologist have to make that requires an accurate update on the clinical condition of the patient?




You are nearing the end of your three month surgical rotation and are spending two weeks on the Orthopedic Service. A 50-year-old woman is an a.m. admit for total hip replacement following an accidental fall at home. You notice that she has a CBC which includes: hematocrit 35%, WBC count 8000/microliter, and platelet count 30,000/microliter. Concerned about the low platelet count, you call this result to the attention of your resident, who refers you to an Internal Medicine physician’s pre-operative workup in the patient’s medical record. You discover the following: (1) this patient has a long history of chronic alcoholism that includes one hospitalization two years ago for upper GI bleeding, and (2) the physician has recommended platelet transfusion prior to surgery.


  1. What additional history do you want?
  2. Why are you nervous about taking this patient to the OR?




A two-day old term infant was transferred from a local hospital to newborn intenstive care unit (NBICU) in respiratory distress. On arrival, the neonate is noted to have ecchymoses over the trunk and legs on examination. Coagulation studies include prothrombin time (PT) and partial thromboplastin time (PTT), each >100 seconds, platelet count 170,000/microliter, and fibrinogen 0 mg/dL (not a direct measurement, but an extrapolation). D-dimer levels are not elevated.


  1. What additional coagulation test should be ordered immediately?
Further History:
A pathologist is contacted for help in interpreting the results above. Unfamiliar with the reagents used to obtain the current values, he requests a new sample and has the same tests run again. Results now include: PT and PTT each >150 seconds, platelet count 134,000/microliter, fibrinogen 202 mg/dL, and D-dimer not elevated.
  1. Can you explain the difference in fibrinogen levels between the two different labs?
Further History:
The pathologist is now convinced the infant had been given too much heparin. The nursing staff in the NBICU are surprised when given this information, stating “this child has not even been in the same room with a vial of heparin.”
  1. What additional test can be run to convince the staff of the problem?
  2. FFP was ordered for the infant. Will FFP help?
  3. What should be given to reverse a heparin overdose?




A 66-year-old woman is electively scheduled for a laparoscopic left inguinal hernia repair. On physical examination only a well-healed anterior midline chest scar is noted. The patient reports that she had a mitral valve replacement 6 years ago. She is taking warfarin but no other medications. The pre-operative workup includes the following laboratory findings: Hgb 12.6 g/dL, Hct 37.6%, MCV 86 fL, platelet count 155,000/microliter, WBC count 8760/microliter, prothrombin time 18 sec with INR of 1.5, and partial thromboplastin time 28 seconds.


  1. What do these laboratory findings indicate?
Further History:
The Blood Bank receives a request for 6 units of fresh frozen plasma, with indication that it is needed prior to the surgery.
  1. Is the order for FFP appropriate?
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