Friday, 6 January 2017

Transfusion Evidence Library

This database of systematic reviews, RCTs and economic studies relevant to transfusion medicine is available to the NHS.  It is compiled by the Systematic Review Initiative, an Oxford based clinical research group.

I must admit this is the first time I have used it.    Search terms used in my exploration are in bold.

Areas covered are listed.   The main audience will be people involved in transfusion medicine, but there is material in it of interest to surgeons, critical care specialists and haematologists. 

The search guide gives search tips, and details of how records are found for inclusion.
  • Total knee replacement finds 164 records
  • Phrase searching is allowed, so “Total knee replacement” 90
  • Boolean is allowed, so total knee (replacement OR arthroplasty) finds 283
  • Like PubMed, strings of words are AND’ed, so total AND knee AND (replacement OR arthroplasty) also finds 283.

Results can be filtered by:
  • Clinical specialty – these include, of course, blood donors, but also haematology and oncology, obstetrics and gynaecology, and surgery.   
  • Subject area - these include Fractionated blood products (under “Alternatives to blood”) and Management of anaemia (under “Clinical Practice”).
  • Study design - SR, RCT or economic.
  • Text availability - TEL links to some publishers and providers like Ovid, but also to things like PubMed Central.

You can apply only one filter from each group at a time.  You can apply filters from different groups together, for example, clinical specialty and study design.  Filters stay applied to searches until you clear them.

Some items (not many in any of the searches I did) have clinical commentaries evaluating quality.

For some searches, you see (at the end of the first page) the expanded query”. This looks like the search that is actually done, but I am not sure.  Sickle cell anaemia does not show an expanded query, where sickle cell anemia does, although both searches give the same number of results. Searching hiv gets the same number as searching hiv OR “human immunodeficiency virus”, and neither shows an expanded query.  For ITP (not the best search in the world!), the expanded query suggests it has searched inosine triphosphate, but the results suggest it has searched immune thrombocytopenia (which is what I was thinking of).   (Using the full name of ITP finds more)

Transfusion Evidence Library looks useful, and I plan to try it out on search requests, where appropriate.  We will be promoting it to our Transfusion team. 


Have you used it?    Please put your thoughts, or anything I have missed or got confused about, in a comment.

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