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research speeds up key cancer treatment for children

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) – UVA Health says research conducted by its nurses and professors is shortening the time it takes to administer a key treatment for children with cancer. Blood platelet transfusions that had previously taken between two to four hours for kids now can take just 30 minutes.

Research began when clinicians saw that the science behind the time children’s transfusions should take had not been studied in-depth. Working with the Nursing Research Department at the University of Virginia Medical Center, they tested the transfusion process on 11 patients, some of whom received multiple infusions using the process. The patients would receive either a 30-45 minute transfusion or a two-to-four hour transfusion. Over the course of the study, the nurses conducting the research say they saw no difference or negative effects stemming from the faster process versus children receiving the slower infusion.

“When they’re in the hospital, there’s not a lot of things that they can control, and our patients getting these infusions are pretty used to being hooked up,” UVA Health Pediatric Nurse Nina Simmons said. “Giving them that extra slot to maybe go for a walk or have this extra 20 minutes in the play room can really make their day.”

For the children receiving the treatment, the faster the transfusion, the quicker they can go back to being normal kids.

“The kids getting these infusions are sick kids, and they’re used to being sick, and they’re used to being confined and there are so many things they’re told that they can’t do,” UVA Nursing Professor Beth Quatrara said. “The fact that we can make this happen a little bit faster and get them out and back to being normal kids, you know they can come into the play room and climb around, jump around.”

UVA Children’s Hospital has already adopted the accelerated transfusion timeline.

Copyright 2020 WVIR. All rights reserved.

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