Anesthesiology Resident Knowledge of Transfusion Medicine: Results From the Anesthesiology Transfusion Education Study

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Background: Transfusion of blood products is a common practice in anesthesiology. Inadequate transfusion medicine knowledge may lead to inappropriate transfusion practices and patient risk. Using a validated assessment tool modified for anesthesiology, we conducted a survey of anesthesiology residents in the United States to assess transfusion medicine knowledge.

Methods: A validated transfusion medicine examination and accompanying survey were forwarded by program directors to residents for anonymous completion on May 5 and closed on June 30, 2021. The outcome of interest was the mean examination score. Secondary areas of interest were performance by year of training and previous educational experience in transfusion reported by the trainees. Rasch analysis was performed on the examination quality and individual question performance. Kruskal-Wallis H tests were used to identify differences between mean scores. Post hoc comparisons were used to assess specific pairwise differences between mean test scores by survey variable.

Results: Four hundred twenty-three anesthesiology residents in 37 programs completed the examination. The mean score was 45.5% ± 12.6%. There was a significant difference in mean cumulative examination scores between different resident training levels (P < 0.001). There was a significant difference in scores between clinical anesthesia (CA)-1 and CA-2 residents (P = 0.011) and CA-1 and CA-3 residents (P = 0.012). No significant difference in examination scores was observed between CA-2 and CA-3 residents (P = 0.95). All these subgroups scored below 50% on the examination. Significant differences between the residency training programs and cumulative scores were identified (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: This examination highlights gaps in transfusion medicine knowledge within US anesthesiology residents. Targeted education may improve knowledge in this area and patient care.