McMaster University

McMaster University

Nancy M. Heddle


Associate Professor (Part-Time)
Pathology and Molecular Medicine

Primary Appointment: Department of Medicine

Director, McMaster Transfusion Research Program
Adjunct Scientist, Canadian Blood Services (Ottawa)

McMaster University
3H56 Health Sciences Centre
905-252-9140 ext. 22126
Fax: 905-524-2983

Nancy M. Heddle

Faculty Biography

Education and Professional Standing

  • FCSMLS(D) Canadian Society of Medical Laboratory Science, 2002
  • MSc, Health Sciences, McMaster University 1992


Research Focus

The Transfusion Research Program at McMaster University 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 ranging from surveys to cohort studies, to 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 transfusion trigger thresholds, studies related to ITP, transfusion related acute lung injury (TRALI) and surveys. 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, understanding issues related to hemophilia care, policy studies to inform the implementation of pathogen inactivation of blood products, and development of a clinical history assessment tool (CHAT) to assist in standardized documentation of clinical information from patients with bleeding disorders.

An interdisciplinary approach to research is often used and involves other McMaster colleagues in Medicine, Pathology, Epidemiology and the School of Geography.

The research group is also involved in a major Quality Management Project funded through the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care to develop quality essential tools that can be used to ensure standardization and optimal transfusion practices within the hospital setting. In addition to these activities blood utilization is also a primary focus of the Transfusion Research Program at McMaster University. The research program is also responsible for the Ontario transfusion transmitted injuries surveillance system (TTISS) database in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada.

For her outstanding work, Nancy Heddle has been awarded the 2009 International Woman in Transfusion Award, presented by the American Association of Blood Banks, The International Society of Blood Transfusion, and the British Blood Transfusion Society. 

Academic Interests

Nancy Heddle is involved in the Hematology and General Pathology Residency Programs, and acts as a tutor for the Health Research Methodology Program through Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

Team Members

Clinical Research Coordinators

Emmy Arnold, Julie Carruthers, Rebecca Barty

Administrative Coordinator

Heather Patterson


Yang Liu


Dr. Aicha Traore

Research Assistants

Ruth Cameron, Shannon Laue, Laura Molnar, Diana Boye

Other Team Members

Dr. Kathryn E. Webert, Associate Professor, Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine & Dr. Donnie M. Arnold, Associate Professor, Department of Medicine

Selected Publications

  • Heddle NM. Supporting evidence based decisions: methodological considerations in platelet dose trials. Blood Therapies In Medicine 2006; 5 (3):82-90.
  • Hayward C, Moffat K, Menaka P, Liu Y, Seecharan J, McKay H, Webert KE, Cook RJ, Heddle NM . An evaluation of methods for determining reference intervals for light transmission platelet aggregation tests on samples with normal or reduced platelet counts. Thrombosis and Haemostasis 2008; 100 (1):134-145.
  • Heddle NM, Arnold DM, Boye D, Webert KE, Resz I, Dumont LJ. Comparing the efficacy and safety of apheresis and whole blood-derived platelet transfusions: A systematic review. Transfusion 2008 July; 48 (7):1447-1458.
  • Dzik WS, Beckman N, Selleng K, Heddle NM, Szczepiorkowski Z, Wendel S, Murphy M for the Biomedical Excellence for Safer Transfusion (BEST) Collaborative. Errors in patient specimen collection: Application of statistical process control. Transfusion 2008 Oct; 48(10):2143-2151.
  • Heddle NM, Eyles J, Webert KE, Arnold E, McCurdy BR. A policy informing qualitative study to improve the process of blood product recalls and withdrawals. Transfusion. 2008 Dec;48(12):2585-95. Epub 2008 Aug 27
  • Heddle NM, Cook RJ, Tinmouth A, Kouroukis CT, Hervig T, Klapper E, Brandwein JM, Zbigniew MS, AuBuchon JP, Barty RL, Lee, K for the SToP Study investigators of the BEST Collaborative. A randomized controlled trial comparing standard and low-dose strategies for transfusion of platelets (SToP) to patients with thrombocytopenia. Blood. Prepublished online Dec. 24, 2008; doi: 10.1182/blood-2008-09-178236.
  • Heddle NM, Liu Y, Barty R, Webert K, Whittaker S, Gagliardi K, Lauzon D, Owens W. Factors affecting the frequency of red cell outdates: An approach to establish benchmarking targets. Transfusion 2009;49:219-226
  • Whyte RK, Kirpalani H, Asztalos EV, Andersen C, Blajchman M, Heddle N, LaCorte M, Robertson CM, Clarke MC, Vincer MJ, Doyle LW, Roberts RS; PINTOS Study Group.Neurodevelopmental outcome of extremely low birth weight infants randomly assigned to restrictive or liberal hemoglobin thresholds for blood transfusion. Pediatrics. 2009 Jan;123(1):207-13
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