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How can we improve blood transfusion practices?

Optimizing blood transfusion across the lifespan with the Recipient Epidemiology and Donor Evaluation Study-IV-Pediatric (REDS-IV-P)

Improving the safety of the blood supply and evaluating transfusion therapies are critical issues impacting public health and medical practice. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute established the REDS program in 1989 to set up an infrastructure to address these issues. Now in its 4th phase, REDS-IV-P continues that mission while adding an additional research focus on newborns, children, and pregnant women receiving blood transfusions.

Westat, which was the data coordinating center (DCC) for REDS-I and REDS-II, is serving as the DCC for REDS-IV-P. Our work will support

  • The program’s continued pursuit of understanding links between blood donor and component characteristics and recipient outcomes
  • The expansion of the program’s scientific aims to include maternal, fetal, neonatal, and pediatric populations, as well as adults

The DCC will perform the following tasks:

  • Establish a cloud computing infrastructure to manage large volumes of data and apply advanced “big data” statistical and analytic methods to answer research questions on blood safety
  • Develop and maintain complex, linkable “vein-to-vein” databases, including electronic health record (EHR) data, to connect blood donor and donation data to transfusion recipients and their clinical outcomes to facilitate a variety of analyses
  • Support a domestic program with 4 blood centers and 22 hospitals in 4 U.S. regions, and an international program in Brazil, to conduct a wide range of epidemiological, laboratory, and omics-related research studies
  • Operationalize research protocols by developing manuals of operations, study materials, and cutting-edge data and specimen collection systems
  • Build rapid research response capability to address emerging threats to the blood supply during pandemics, such as SARS-CoV-2, or outbreaks of arboviruses, such as Zika, chikungunya, and dengue

The data collected and analyses performed by Westat will help evaluate blood banking practices (including blood collection, screening, and processing strategies) and transfusion medicine practices, with the ultimate goal of improving health outcomes across the lifespan.

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