Division of Hematology & Thromboembolism

Nancy Marie Heddle


Director, McMaster Transfusion Research Program

Professor Emeritus, Department of Medicine



Research Interests

The Transfusion Research Program at McMaster University (www.fhs.mcmaster.ca/mtrp) combines both quantitative and qualitative methodological techniques to address a wide variety of transfusion related questions to provide a bench-to-bedside evidence based approach to transfusion medicine practice. Quantitative research approaches utilize both experimental and non-experimental research designs including surveys, case control studies, cohort studies, and randomized controlled trials.

Current areas of interest which utilize these techniques include adverse effects to blood transfusion, determining the optimal dose for platelet transfusion, optimal blood utilization practices, transfusion issues in neonates and cardiovascular patients, clinical research focused on immune platelet disorders, and research related to other bleeding disorders. Qualitative approaches are being used to address a number of questions related to blood donor research including optimal approaches for deferral of blood donors and recruitment of blood donors, exploring the effectiveness of hospital Transfusion Committees, and inform policy related to the recall and withdrawal of blood products.

The research group is also collaborating with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care by coordinating the provincial program for the Transfusion Transmitted Injury Surveillance System (TTISS), and is the sponsor for the Ontario Regional Blood Coordination Network (ORBCON) which is focusing on blood utilization, best practices and safety of blood transfusion in Ontario hospitals.

N. Heddle became the first Canadian to serve as an Associate Editor for the journal Transfusion which is the official journal for the AABB in 2004. She is also the recipient of numerous awards including: The Gold Medal Award from the Canadian Society of Medical Laboratory Sciences; the Premier’s Award in Health Services for the province of Ontario; and the Ivor Dunsford Memorial Award from AABB.

Selected Publications

  1. Heddle NM, Klama L, Meyer R, Walker I, Boshkov L, Roberts R, Chambers S, Podlosky L, O'Hoski P, Levine M. A randomized controlled trial comparing plasma removal with leukoreduction to prevent reactions to platelets. Transfusion 39:231-238, 1999.
  2. Heddle NM, Blajchman MA, Meyer R, Lipton J, Walker I, Sher GD, Constantini L, Patterson B, Roberts R, Thorpe K, Levine M. A randomized controlled trial comparing the frequency of acute reactions and post transfusion platelet recovery of plasma removed and pre-storage leukoreduced platelets. Transfusion 2002; 42:556-566.
  3. Heddle NM. Evidence Based Clinical Reporting: A Need for Improvement. (Editorial) Transfusion 2002; 42:1106-1110.
  4. Heddle NM, Cook RJ, Webert KE, Sigouin C, Rebulla P. Methodological Issues in the Use of Bleeding as an Outcome in Transfusion Medicine Studies. Transfusion 2003; 43 (6); 742-752.
  5. Heddle NM. Universal Leukoreduction and Acute Transfusion Reactions: putting the puzzle together. Transfusion 2004; 44:1-4. Editorial.
  6. Heddle NM, Cook RJ, Sigouin C, Slichter SH, Murphy M, Rebulla P. A Review of Transfusion Practice and Bleeding Outcomes in Patients with Acute Leukemia – An International Study. Transfusion 2004; (in press).
  7. Cook RJ, Heddle NM, Rebulla P, Sigouin C, Webert KE. Methods for the Analysis of Bleeding Outcomes in Randomized Trials of PLT Transfusion Triggers. Transfusion 2004; 44(8):1135-1142.
  8. Heddle NM, Cook RJ, Barty R, Sigouin C; Boye D; Blajchman MA; Nelson E; Kelton JG. Assessing the effectiveness of whole blood derived platelets stored as a pool: A randomized block non-interiority trial. Transfusion 2004; (in press).
  9. Stanworth S, Hyde C, Heddle N, Rebulla P, Brunskill S, Murphy M. Prophylactic platelet transfusion for haemorrhage after chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004; Oct 18 (4): CD004269.

Team Members

Fellows in Transfusion Medicine: Donald M. Arnold, MD, FRCPC, Kathryn E. Webert, MD, FRCPC, Howard H.W. Chan, MBChB, FRCPC

Research Fellow: Susan Whittaker, MSc, PhD(c)

Clinical Research Coordinators: Emmy Arnold, MA Julie Carruthers, MLT, CTRC Rebecca Barty, MLT, CTRC

Research Assistants: Silvia Sunesen MLT, ART, Diana Boye MLT, ART, Ilona Resz MLT, ART

Biostatistician: Chris Siguoin, MSc, PhD(c)

Administrative Coordinator: Jeanette Button