Collaboration is King

In the April issue of Transfusion journal, Joseph et al report their 1½ -year experience with the use of 4 Factor Prothrombin Complex Concentrate (4F-PCC) for urgent reversal of Vitamin K antagonists (Transfus 2016;l 56: 799-807).

As the authors mention, their “…study supports the safety of 4F-PCC for urgent vitamin K antagonist reversal even in unselected patients.”

I highlight this article for several reasons. It is incumbent upon those of us in the clinical laboratory, and especially the Blood Bank/Transfusion Service, to be aware of these new pharmaceutical agents that help provide rapid reversal of anticoagulants and allow for the potential elimination of unnecessary transfusions. I have found that often our clinical colleagues are unfamiliar with these strategies and we must take the lead in helping to establish protocols for their appropriate use. This article speaks, as well, to the need for ongoing evaluation of these drugs in, as they state in their title, the “real-world” of medical practice. Knowing how specific drugs affect outcomes outside of select studies with exclusions of particular patient populations (in this case, those with TE risk) is so valuable to our everyday work.

Another reason that this article is important is it underscores the importance of collaboration. The authors are representatives of departments of Pathology, the School of Medicine and Pharmacy. It is vital that we, as laboratory professionals, push to participate alongside our clinical colleagues in the assessment and implementation of new therapies and adjuvant treatments.

It is obvious from the Transfusion Medicine perspective, that our Pharmacy “friends” play a huge role in patient care, often spearheading and specializing in areas such as anticoagulant reversal strategies, release of factor concentrates, antifibrinolytics, IVIg and albumin. All of these pharmaceuticals can ultimately affect our laboratory testing and our potential interventions. Be certain you have representative from Pharmacy as a member of your Transfusion Committee.

It always pleases me to see, not only excellent literature, but also ongoing collaboration with laboratory professional often at the helm!



-Dr. Burns was a private practice pathologist, and Medical Director for the Jewish Hospital Healthcare System in Louisville, KY. for 20 years. She has practiced both surgical and clinical pathology and has been an Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Louisville. She is currently available for consulting in Patient Blood Management and Transfusion Medicine. You can reach her at

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