FPQC QBL Education Slide Set

Quantification of Blood Loss
Margie Mueller Boyer, RNC, MS
Florida AWHONN Section OHI Representative
Annette Phelps, ARNP, MSN
FPQC Nursing Consultant
How were we doing?
OHI Hospitals (31 FL and 4 NC):
Prior to implementation of
Phase 1 OHI initiative
58% report use of techniques to
quantify blood loss
Only 26% quantify-only (never
How are we doing now?
% of OHI hospitals using QBL methods for Vaginal Deliveries
How are we doing now? Cont.
% of OHI hospitals using QBL methods for Cesarean Deliveries
Quantification History
EBL method used most often is visual
Visual estimation is unreliable and inaccurate
Underestimated as much as 33 to 50 %
Institute most accurate methods:
Quantification of Blood Loss (QBL)
Gabel et al 2012, Patel et al 2006, Bingham et al 2012
AWHONN Practice Brief: www.pphproject.org
We’ve always done it this way…
Clinical decisions of when
and if resuscitative efforts
should begin and to notify
other team members of
hemorrhage, need to be
based on measures and
It is a matter of patient
Gabel, K. T., & Weeber, T. A. (2012)
QBL Benefits
QBL prompts the Nurse on critical actions
No longer rely on flawed, imprecise visual
Timely recognition of excessive blood loss
leads to initiation blood transfusions and
other maternal resuscitative efforts
Overestimation can be costly--unnecessary
treatments like transfusions
Underestimation can delay life saving
hemorrhage interventions
AWHONN now recommends QBL at every
The process is intentional—a formal effort!
No more vague “Guesstimates”
Continues until the patient is stable and is
cumulative with hand-off reporting
QBL is More Accurate
The goal is not a “perfect, precise” number.
There may be some discrepancies from mixing
with amniotic fluid, urine, irrigant, etc.
However it is more accurate to do some
measurements than to rely solely on visual
Who should determine QBL?
It is a team effort and needs to be standardized.
Some teams designate one member as responsible to
measure, orally report, and record.
We will discuss 2 methods.
We should be able to answer:
How much blood is in the suction canister (after amniotic fluid)?
How much blood is on sponges?
How much blood is on the floor/on the table?
At regular intervals and cumulatively until the patient is stable (2
to 4 hours post delivery)
CMQCC 2010
1. Weigh: Blood soaked pads, chux
2. Direct Measure: Collect blood in graduated
measurement containers and/or under
buttocks drapes
– Account for other fluids(amniotic fluid, irrigation)
AWHONN Practice Brief, Quantification of Blood Loss May 2014
Weigh wet materials (with
known dry weight); may be
done by gathering a group of
pads and weighing them all
TIP: A practical way of
measuring blood in laps is to
weigh them in groups of 5.
Calculate the gram weight and
convert to milliliters.
One gram = One milliliter
AWHONN Practice Brief, Quantification of Blood Loss May 2014
Jennifer McNulty MD and Amy Scott MSN
Created by Tricia Walton, RNC,BSN, Hedy Edmund, RNC,BSN
and the FPQC
Available upon Request from the FPQC
Recommendations cont.
Use calibrated under-buttock drapes (at
vaginal birth, note the volume of amniotic fluid,
urine and stool after birth but before the
Measure what can be suctioned at CS (less
irrigation +AF)
Direct Measure
Under Buttocks Drapes
275 mL
Cesarean Sections
Shared by Jennifer McNulty MD and Amy Scott MSN and available in the OHI Toolbox
AWHONN’s tips for:
Where Do We Begin?
Start by teaching the process that is common
for most cases.
Begin with vaginal births then scheduled
Be willing to modify and tweak the process to
meet the particular logistics of your facility.
Have team meeting to determine how to
manage e.g., the STAT cesarean.
Vaginal Births: Keep it Simple
For Vaginal Births, begin right after the infant’s
• Note amniotic fluid, urine, etc. in the underbuttocks bag prior to birth. (Applicable if SROM
occurs close to birth or amnioinfusion performed.)
• RN looks at the bag as soon as OB/CNM has
completed the delivery to communicate the amount
of blood in the calibrated drape as QBL.
AWHONN Practice Brief, Quantification of Blood Loss May 2014
Quantification Tips from AWHONN
Assess amount of fluid in the under buttocks drape prior to
delivery of placenta - mark drape or state amount
Begin QBL immediately after the infant’s birth PRIOR to delivery
of the placenta.
Record the amount of fluid collected
Most of the fluid collected prior to birth of the placenta is amniotic fluid,
urine, and feces. If irrigation is used, deduct the amount of irrigation from
the total fluid that was collected.
Subtract the pre-placenta fluid volume from the post-placenta
fluid. Most of the fluid collected after delivery of placenta is
Continue QBL 2-4 hrs postpartum
Toolkit and
Materials for
Available at www.pphproject.org
Frequently Encountered Clinical Issues and
(adapted from Bingham & Main 2012 and AWHONN 2014)
Providers believe that their
patients are unique; thus, the
research does not apply to
their specific group of
AWHONN Response
Distribute key peerreviewed literature related
to the measurement of
blood loss to every nurse
and physician.
Many physicians and nurses
have only performed EBL.
They are not familiar with
how to QBL.
The lack of experience
indicates that there is a need
for more education tactics
with QBL details.
Issues and Responses cont.
(adapted from Bingham & Main 2012 and AWHONN 2014)
AWHONN Response
The providers are concerned,
on the basis of their training
and experience, that if they
begin quantifying blood loss
they will have higher blood
loss levels which might
reflect negatively on their
practices putting their
reputations in jeopardy.
Track the number of births
quantified and their
relationship to early
recognition of PPH. Report
facts and QBL trends to the
physicians and nurses.
Issues and Responses cont.
(adapted from Bingham & Main 2012 and AWHONN 2014)
AWHONN Response
Measurement of cumulative
blood loss is the goal. Often it
is too late when we recognize
that the woman has lost too
much blood. Perform regular
quantification in nonemergency situations to
prepare the team for the
actual PPH event.
“QBL is only needed for cases
where a hemorrhage is
Issues and Responses cont.
(adapted from Bingham & Main 2012 and AWHONN 2014)
AWHONN Response
“QBL is not exact and
therefore it is not worth
The goal is not a “perfect,
precise” number. There may
be some discrepancies from
mixing with amniotic fluid,
urine, irrigation, etc. and this
can be measured to some
degree. It is more accurate to
do some measurements than
to rely solely on visual
Issues and Responses cont.
(adapted from Bingham & Main 2012 and AWHONN 2014)
AWHONN Response
“There was fluid already in the
canister, just estimating, we
forgot it and so it’s just an
Since irrigation is usually done
after the major bleeding is
controlled, it may be best to
connect to another canister
BEFORE irrigating to capture
this fluid separately. With
continued use, documenting
the measures at birth and
then ongoing becomes routine
practice and there is less
forgetting to document.
Issues and Responses cont.
(adapted from Bingham & Main 2012 and AWHONN 2014)
AWHONN Response
“With QBL, it is now my
responsibility to get it right.”
“I used to be in charge and still
want the responsibility.”
Shared responsibility and
accountability is critical to
quality patient outcomes. A
shared team awareness is
needed. It is no one person’s
responsibility. It is a TEAM
Issues and Responses cont.
(adapted from Bingham & Main 2012 and AWHONN 2014)
AWHONN Response
“QBL takes a lot of time.”
Teams that do QBL report
that it becomes routine and
takes very little additional
time. Have QBL nurse and
physician experts showcase
doability of QBL and describe
how they successfully
performed QBL.
Issues and Responses cont.
(adapted from Bingham & Main 2012 and AWHONN 2014)
AWHONN Response
“It’s going to slow down OR
room turnover.”
Have scales and dry item lists
readily available in every OR.
Develop quick methods for
totaling/calculating in EMR.
Think of the time that will be
saved by avoiding a
hemorrhage event.
AWHONN recommends
measuring blood loss for every
woman who gives births in order to
reduce denial that leads to delays
in women receiving lifesaving
treatments. Measuring blood loss
makes a un-reliable subjective
process much more reliable.
Debra Bingham,
President of Nursing
Research, Education,
and Practice
Why do Quantification of Blood Loss in Obstetrics?
When I was practicing in Ohio, a quality improvement project was initiated for
reduction of obstetric hemorrhage. I was skeptical about some of the components and
somewhat taken aback to having anesthesiologists or nurses telling me what the blood
loss amount was. I had been estimating blood loss for years without any problems and
did not see the value for the added time and attention that it would take. That is, until
the consistent measurements indicated that estimation was not as safe for my patients
as measured quantification.
Over time, I learned from the literature that estimations were often as much as 50%
inaccurate, usually underestimating the true loss. I have heard from nurses, that on
day 2 the hematocrit is sometimes low and the patient symptomatic when estimations
are used and quantifications ignored. This has made a believer out of me and now, I
consistently want to have quantified measurement of blood loss for vaginal and
Caesarean deliveries. Quantification is not a perfect measurement but is more
accurate than guessing, and with the new tools offered to make the measures more
accurate, it is getting better and better.
Many of our national organizations are strongly encouraging us to use the most
accurate quantifications we can. Recent recommendations have come from working
groups comprised of ACOG, CDC, SMFM, and AWHONN, as well as, multiple state
perinatal collaboratives that quantitative measures are safer for patients. I think we
need to have a culture change in the delivery suite. We have the evidence that early
recognition of significant blood loss and early intervention is safer for our patients.
We need to get over the old thinking that we are not good at our jobs if
there is blood loss and move to the evidence based model that says we are
best at our work if we recognize and respond appropriately.
Judette Louis, MD,
Assistant Professor,
Department of
Obstetrics and
Morsani College of
FPQC Clinical Advisor
When it comes to obstetric hemorrhage, denial and delay in
recognition can equal maternal death. The uterus can bleed 500800 cc/minute and within 5 minutes of unrecognized
hemorrhage a patient can suffer loss of an entire blood volume
along with valuable clotting factors. Signs of hypotension are
often masked in healthy patients due to increases in cardiac
output and vasoconstriction. Quantification of blood loss in the
operating room and labor and delivery room is vital to providing
early intervention in recognition and treatment of obstetric
As medical providers, we need to join together in accurately
measuring blood loss as part of the multidisciplinary approach to
obstetric hemorrhage. By putting the ego aside and letting go of
estimates, we can move towards evidenced based quantification
of blood loss to help providers overcome the denial and delay in
treatment of maternal hemorrhage.
Jean Miles, MD
Chief of Obstetric
Memorial Healthcare
Patient Safety
Committee for the
Society of Obstetric
Anesthesia and
When implementing any new initiative among
nursing staff it is essential to understand the
“why” behind the purpose of implementing the
new process/procedure. QBL allows us to have a
more accurate clinical picture of blood loss so we
can proactively manage our patients rather than
reactively manage their symptoms after they are
already occurring. Even the most experienced
clinicians can have a difference of opinion when it
comes to subjective assessment. QBL is the
closest we can come to objectively assessing the
blood loss post-delivery so we can improve clinical
outcomes for our patients.
Marie Sakowski, MSN,
Nurse Manager,
Perinatal, Labor and
Women’s Health
Florida Hospital
For EVERY birth, begin QBL immediately after
the infant’s delivery and continue ongoing QBL
measurement until bleeding is stable.
Cumulative measurement of blood loss is key to
early recognition of excessive blood loss for
timely initiation of life saving interventions.
QBL for all births reduces the incidence of denial
of significant blood loss and delayed recognition
and initiation of treatment.
Adapted from AWHONN.
QBL Exercise

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