Blood transfusion is a life-saving intervention. However, blood may not always be available when needed for just-in-time transfusion, especially in austere environments (where there may not be a blood bank) or in times of crisis (when supply chain disruptions may render standard processes moot). A walking blood bank (WBB) is a transfusion strategy where blood donors are summoned in times of emergency, and blood is immediately collected, tested, and transfused to patients in need. This approach deviates from standard processes in several ways, including testing approaches, logistics, and the protocols applied. Further, WBBs use fresh whole blood which is now recognized as the ideal transfusion product for severe hemorrhagic shock in trauma. WBBs have been used for decades in military medicine and, more recently, to address civilian platelet shortages in trauma and blood during mass casualty events. Nonetheless, scant literature remains on its use and implementation outside of military contexts. How can WBBs be used to address non-military settings and in civilian crisis scenarios?This educational session will explore the concept of a walking blood bank, the potential need for this innovation across the world and in crisis scenarios, variations in its implementation, and the latest relevant research and technology developments in this space which dramatically improve our understanding of the role of walking blood banks within blood banking. The program will reflect on several applications and ongoing studies. Its target audience is professional blood bank staff, transfusion medicine physicians, students, residents, and others interested in future directions of blood banking. This educational session will provide participants with a comprehensive review of walking blood banks and their role in emergent scenarios and discuss adaptations relevant to their application in the civilian context, including the risks and benefits.
DrPH, MHA, RAC, CABP(H),
Advisor, Investigator, Consultant,
AABB; University of Pittsburgh; Linda S Barnes Consulting