To Condition or Not to Condition … That is the Question

You already know that irreversible blood temperature indicators help ensure that the blood products you dispense stay within the appropriate temperature range. This can ultimately save money by reducing blood wastage, while also maintaining quality control.

The problem? Not all indicators on the market are created equal. The ones that require conditioning in some way don’t always meet the needs of today’s busy, fast-paced blood banks. Those I’ve spoken with say that ease-of-use is as high a priority as accuracy and reliability. That’s what Safe-T-Vue delivers.

Once our indicators are stored with your blood for 24 hours, the Safe-T-Vue 6 and Safe-T-Vue 10 do not need any conditioning. I’m often asked if the indicator needs to be heated prior to use or if it needs to go back into the refrigerator prior to use once it’s been applied to a blood bag. The answer to both these questions is no.

Safe-T-Vue indicators need only be stored in the refrigerator along with Red Blood Cells (RBCs). When RBCs are needed, a staff member simply removes an indicator and blood bag from the refrigerator and places the Safe-T-Vue on the blood bag.

It’s easily activated by folding over the “rounds” and snapping them together.

That’s it.

Other indicators on the market say they require “no conditioning” – but that’s simply not the case. One in particular has to be heated to a specified temperature for 60 seconds prior to activation. Another maps out “best practices,” which recommend putting the blood bag back into the refrigerator for 15 minutes once the indicator has been activated. The problem here is that the activation process can be delicate in the former example – and waiting for blood as in the latter, even for just 15 minutes, is very often not an option.

Here’s how it all breaks down.

To save even more time, inactivated Safe-T-Vue indicators can be adhered to blood bags as they are received – then put back into the refrigerator until needed for quick dispensing. You can then simply activate the indicator when blood product is requisitioned. And once activated, Safe-T-Vue indicators are good for 42 days compared to the other indicators that must come off the blood bag after each reissue.  This makes the Safe-T-Vue the only indicator that can be reissued multiple times on the same unit of blood.Safe-T-Vue 10 Blood temperature indicator for blood transport and temporary storage

If you have questions about how Safe-T-Vue works – and how it can save you valuable time compared to others on the market, please contact us. We’d also be happy to send you some Safe-T-Vue samples so you can see for yourself how easy they are to use.

Jeffrey Gutkind

jeffg@temptimecorp.com

Download VUEPOINT PDF

The Blood Supply Chain

Learning about the points of failure

We recently came across a white paper published by MaxQ Research LLC that breaks down the transfusion blood supply chain into “7 critical steps,” as illustrated in their infographic.  What was interesting to us is that the white paper discusses how in each of these steps “possible points of failure where any delays, miscommunications, or procedural issues can cause serious problems.”

Over the years, based on what we’ve learned from you, many past VUEPOINTs have focused on the fact that it’s the time blood products are out of your (blood bank) control where these delays or procedural issues can result in problems.  It’s for this very reason that many of you believe using an irreversible temperature indicator is the only way to know for certain that temperatures never exceed the 6oC or 10oC standard.

Before you dive into the entire white paper, which we encourage you to do, here are some key sections in the white paper’s introductory pages that we’d like to highlight, particularly when considering temperature indicators like Safe-T-Vue:

p. 5: Returned Blood and Blood Components

“Often there will be a need to return blood, blood components, to the blood bank/transfusion service.  This is possible only if:…

  • The appropriate temperature has been maintained….
  • The records indicate that the blood, blood component, tissue or derivatives have been inspected and that they are acceptable for reissue.”

While a qualified and validated storage/transport container validated for up to 24 hours may be used, there are well-known “points of failure in the blood supply chain” caused by human error.  If the blood product is removed from the storage container or cooler and left at room temperature, which happens in both the ER and OR, the blood could reach unsafe temperatures.  An irreversible temperature indicator like Safe-T-Vue is the only way to know if this exposure has occurred.  Use of an infrared thermometer or other temperature measuring device is not an adequate inspection method as the blood product may have been returned to the cooler and re-cooled – after having exceeded temperature standards.

p. 8: Cost of Blood Wastage is Significant

“Not only are blood products costly, but unnecessary losses or spoilage can result in shortages and put human lives at risk.  A more reliable and cost-effective solution is needed.”

Need we say more?

As the white paper points out, in 2010 the estimated direct cost of one unit of RBCs was $225.42, and this doesn’t account for overhead costs.  And then there is the truly unquantifiable cost and risk of a unit of temperature-compromised blood being transfused into a patient.

Learn more about blood transport packaging

You can download the white paper PDF and learn more about what hospitals and blood banks are using for shipping and storage today as well as the science behind these containers.

Many thanks to MaxQ Research for authoring and sharing this white paper. They would be delighted to entertain your questions and hear your reactions to their work.

As always, we also welcome your comments and questions, and appreciate the work that you do to maintain quality and integrity in your blood supply chain.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey Gutkind

p.s. The bibliography on the last page of the white paper is an excellent resource, be sure to check it out.

Make a New Year’s Resolution: Keep track of blood losses in your blood bank

Preserve precious resources, save money and optimize patient outcomes

I recently had the opportunity to visit a large metropolitan hospital that uses about 200 units of RBCs in the OR and ER every day. They were interested in learning about how temperature indicators might help them preserve their blood supplies, which is why I was there.

When I asked the blood bank supervisor how many units they lose each day she responded “zero.” A little further into the conversation, I asked her again and she said, “maybe a few per month.” Next, I asked her how many of those were lost because of temperature exposure. She didn’t know.

While a number as “low” as five units a month may not seem significant, particularly for a large institution, the costs can mount up quickly.  If one unit of RBCs is estimated at $250, for example, then losing “only a few” units each month can mean $15,000 to $20,000 a year.  And for smaller hospitals, losing even one or two units a month adds up to $2500 to $5000 annually.

And, as Dr. Robert A. DeSimone said in an interview with Medical Lab Management in 2017, “Blood products are a precious resource…we have tremendous respect for our blood donors and their provision of this valuable resource to our hospitals and patients.”  His point? Monetary cost aside, every unit of blood lost is the loss of a truly precious resource.

How can you determine what you are losing if you don’t keep track?

Some blood banks use a log to track blood losses.  Here’s an example of a simple grid that might help you get started:

Reviewing the grid regularly gives you the opportunity to tally your monthly losses, as well as look for any trends.  This can help you uncover the REASONS for the losses, which may give you insight into what measures can be taken to reduce or prevent those losses from happening. Download PDF of the Blood Disposal Log.

What improvements can be made when you do log blood losses?

One outcome of this logging exercise is evaluating whether or not you should actually be disposing of blood.  Is it safe to return to inventory, or not?

Scenario #1: Blood is not returned to the blood bank based on the 30-minute rule.

  • Result: There is no proof that the unit actually exceeded the recommended transport/temporary storage temperature. You could be disposing of a perfectly good unit of blood.

Scenario #2: Blood is measured with an infrared thermometer upon return to the blood bank and deemed viable.

  • Result: There is no proof that the unit didn’t exceed temperature guidelines during the period it was out of the blood bank (you can read more about infrared thermometers here). It may not be safe to return to inventory.

Scenario #3: Using an irreversible temperature indicator provides proof as to whether the blood should or should not be returned to inventory based on temperature exposure.

  • Result: You only return blood that has not been exposed to excessive heat to the blood bank, assuring patient safety and minimizing risk. Plus, you may be able to avoid disposing of some units of blood you may have otherwise – saving a valuable resource and money over the long term.

Are temperature indicators worth the expense?

Simply put, using an irreversible temperature indicator is the only way to have confidence that blood is safe to return to inventory – potentially preventing unnecessary disposal.  While there is an associated cost to using indicators, if you are able to save even one unit of blood each month, valued at $250, the cost of temperature indicators is quickly offset by the savings. Costs are also justified by the added peace of mind and your ability to preserve valuable blood supplies.

Jeffrey Gutkind
Jeffg@temptimecorp.comBlood Loss - Disposal Log Sheet

 

Keeping Blood Products Cold During Dispensing

Tests show that gel blankets significantly help maintain temps below 6oC

Test Blood Bag Warming using reusable ice packsOn a recent visit to a blood bank customer who uses Safe-T-Vue 6, we learned something that we felt was worth sharing. During the approximate 10 minutes that it often took to do paperwork and cross-matching, they sometimes experienced the Safe-T-Vue 6 (STV-6) “tripping.” This caused concern that the blood product may have been compromised by room temperature exposure, even for a seemingly short time period.

To address this problem, they began using refrigerated gel blankets (reusable ice pack sheets) to keep the blood product cool. Taking this simple step of placing the blanket around the blood bag(s) during preparation and before transport to the ER/OR has given them confidence that the blood product has been kept cool, and the STV-6 provides visual indication and reassurance that 6°C has not been exceeded.

Wanting to learn just how much the gel blanket helped, we turned to Marielle Smith, Technical Service Scientist in our Temptime Lab, to do some testing. You may be surprised by what we learned.

Read this VUEPOINT to see the test procedure and learn from the detailed data we gathered. It may inspire you to try gel blankets in your blood bank!

Tests to compare blood bag warming with and without refrigerated gel blankets

When blood banks are preparing refrigerated blood bags for transport to the OR/ER, there is limited time for blood bank personnel to record the necessary patient information (cross-check, paperwork, etc.) before the blood approaches critical temperatures. Many blood banks use Safe-T-Vue 6 for exactly this reason.

Previous studies have shown that bags warm quickly to temperatures (6.0°C in less than 10 minutes) rendering the blood unsuitable for use. Results from this new study, however, demonstrate that using a refrigerated gel blanket (such as the Thermafreeze Reusable Ice Pack Sheet) makes a significant difference in slowing the warming rate when the blood product is removed from refrigeration to typical room temperature conditions.

Test procedure setup

A test was performed to assess whether using a refrigerated gel blanket can add to the longevity of the blood bags upon removal from refrigerated storage (1°C – 4°C).

The test was setup to collect temperature data as follows:

1. Control, single bag with no gel blanket
2. Single bag with small gel blanket, cutout window (to view Safe-T-Vue 6)
3. Three bags with larger gel blanket

Six (6) bags of 350 mL simulated red blood cells volume were used for scenarios 1 and 2, and 18 bags were used for scenario 3.

Reusable Ice Pack Sheets (e.g., gel blanket) were obtained and cut into different dimensions to allow for testing either a single bag (with a window cut-out to view the Safe-T-Vue 6 indicator) or 3 bags side-by-side.

Small gel blanket with viewing window for 1 bag

Large gel blanket for 3 bags

Temperature measurement

Calibrated temperature probes were inserted into each of the simulated blood bags. Calibrated electronic thermometers (accuracy of at least ±0.1°C) were used to record the temperature of the fluid inside the filled blood bags.

After pre-conditioning in the refrigerator (maintained between 1°C to 4°C) for at least 24 hours, the bags and the gel blankets were removed and placed lying flat on a counter-top at room temperature conditions (19°C ± 1°C with 50% R.H). A timer was set to count-up mode and temperature readings were recorded at one minute intervals until the temperature inside the bag reached 6°C.

Test results

The data points on the graph below show the gradual warming of the bags as the refrigerated blood bags warm to 6.0°C in room temperature conditions when the blood bag is either wrapped in a refrigerated gel blanket, or left as is upon removal from refrigerated storage (control).

Summary

  • Without using a gel blanket, blood bags warmed from 3.2°C to 6.0°C in approximately 9 minutes
  • Using a small gel blanket (with a window cut out to allow for visual interpretation of the Safe-T-Vue 6 indicator), blood bags warmed to 6.0°C in approximately 25 minutes
  • Using a large gel blanket for testing up to 3 bags side-by-side, blood bags warmed to 6.0°C in approximately 32 minutes

Conclusions and recommendations

The results presented in this report support that a pre-conditioned refrigerated gel blanket can be wrapped around blood products to keep the blood below 6°C for an extended period of time – while blood bank personnel are preparing the blood for transport to the ER/OR.

When a simulated blood bag was wrapped in a refrigerated gel blanket upon removal from refrigerated storage (1°C to 4°C), the bag warmed to 6.0°C within about 25 to 32 minutes on a counter at room temperature conditions. As an added precaution, a Safe-T-Vue 6 indicator can be used to provide irreversible visual indication of temperature excursions beyond 6.0°C.

Order free samples of Safe-T-Vue 6

HELP not HYPE: Being truly useful to blood banks

VUEPOINT posts and website top-ranking pages prove that delivering blood bank help is timeless and valuable

The Williams Labs web site was created with a single goal – provide a place where people involved in blood banking can find information to help them perform their jobs more easily and with better results.

We are delighted that blood bankers from around the world – some who are Safe-T-Vue users and some who are not – routinely visit williamlabs.com and read our VUEPOINT posts because we are providing relevant, useful and helpful information for blood banks.

AABB_Temperature_Standards_2016We’ve also been flattered to learn that blood bank inspectors point blood banks to our website as an easy source of information regarding transport and storage of blood products.

In this VUEPOINT, we share the links to these pages and posts as a quick guide to these informational resources. Maybe they are handy to bookmark for your daily blood bank operations – or perhaps in orienting a new employee? Whatever your reason, it’s here for you and your blood bank staff – with our continued focus on helping you do your best.

Top 5 Useful and Helpful Pages

1. AABB Temperature Standards for Blood Products: Storage and Transport
This table provides fast access to the newest 2016 AABB Reference Standard 5.1.8.A for storage and transport temperatures of blood components.

2. Simulated Blood Product RecipesSimulated_Blood_Products_Validation
We first published this VUEPOINT almost 4 years ago, and based on the web statistics, it continues to be a valuable resource for blood banks. Did you know that 10% glycerol in water is NOT “one size fits all?” You might want to read this one and learn more.

 

3. QA Documents
It doesn’t sound glamorous or intriguing, but the incredibly useful nature of having QA documents for the Safe-T-Vue products easily accessible 24/7/365 has proven to be a winner. No hype, just help.Safe-T-Vue_QA_Docs

4. Category: Storage of Blood Components
This page provides titles and excerpts of all the VUEPOINT posts in the category “Storage of Blood Components” that we’ve published over the years. Scroll down the page and you’ll quickly find information on IR Thermometers, Cooler Validation, Refrigerator Setpoints, Indicator Comparisons and more.

5. Tags: Blood Temperature
Similar to #4 “Storage of Blood Components” this page presents almost 5 years of VUEPOINT posts that have something to do with blood temperature – measuring, monitoring, and managing.

We are always looking to learn from you – about how we can be more helpful and genuinely useful by providing valuable information to blood bankers worldwide. If you have suggestions for VUEPOINT topics or questions you’d like for us to explore – and share – we would be delighted to hear from you.

Sincerely,

Jeff Gutkind

3 Things You Need to Know

About Blood Temperature Indicators

Do you trust a product to protect your blood supplies that may “auto activate?” Would you be discarding expensive blood products because of an unreliable indicator?

1. Accuracy Matters

Of the indicators on the market, one is clearly less accurate. “Indicator A” can reach endpoint at 9o, resulting in wasted blood – blood that may actually be in compliance.

2. Performance Varies Greatly

The fine print for a competing indicator clearly states that AFTER ACTIVATION, the temperature of the blood needs to be brough back down to its 8oC “Stop Temperature” to avoid premature indication.

This means that the indicator could prematurely indicate at a temperature as low as 8oC if the blood bank doesn’t take the extra step to ensure that the blood – after attaching an activated indicator – is cooled below this “stop temperature.”

3. Lower Price May Not Be Lowest Cost

Comparing indicator purchase price may make it seem like an easy choice.  however, the actual COST of an indicator that is:

  • poor performing
  • less accurate, or
  • unreliable

is dramatic in comparison to the cost of wasted blood products.

Knowing that, on average:

  • blood banks receive a significant amount of issued blood back
  • ONE unit of wasted blood may cost the blood bank $250
It only makes sense that a more reliable indicator that reaches endpoint at 9.6oC (and not as low as 8.0oC) is a more cost effective choice.

Handy Tip

Safe-T-Vue lot-by-lot QA documents are posted here on our website for easy customer access – and prove that Safe-T-Vue is manufactured to quality standards.

 

SURVEY: Temperature Indicators & Platelet Bacterial Contamination

“Sepsis from a bacterially contaminated platelet unit represents the most frequent infectious complication from any blood product today.”1

Would a temperature indicator help your blood bank improve quality control, patient outcomes and platelet discard rates?
Take the Survey: Click Here

Because platelets are stored at room temperature, their shelf life is limited to 5 days due to the risk for bacterial growth during storage. Bacterial contamination of platelets is a major concern because of the rich plasma environment at room temperature. All apheresis platelets are sampled and cultured for bacteria growth prior to issue. Platelets that have exceeded the AABB guideline temperature range (20 – 24°C) are at greater risk for elevated bacterial counts. When this happens, not only is the patient risk high, but there are also intense challenges on the blood bank to maintain adequate platelet supplies AND assure patient safety.

As a major manufacturer of temperature indicators for healthcare applications, we are interested to hear from you about the possible application of a temperature indicator for platelets (PLTs). For that reason, we’re conducting a survey.

Publications on Platelets

Just this past November, AABB published clinical guidelines on appropriate use of platelet transfusion in adult patients, developed by a panel of twenty-one experts (named in the article). These guidelines appear in the February 2015 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. While the article provides six recommendations specific to platelets and transfusions, it states early in the article that:

“Sepsis from a bacterially contaminated platelet unit represents the most frequent infectious complication from any blood product today.”1

In a 2011 article in Transfusion, the author noted that “…outdating PLTs is a financial burden and a waste of a resource.”2

In response to this recent attention to platelets, we’ve considered whether an irreversible temperature indicator for platelets would help protect patients AND reduce the financial burden associated with outdated PLTs.

Please CLICK HERE to take our survey
and share your thoughts.

In this short survey, we’d like to learn more about your blood bank’s platelet inventory management – and to get your ideas on the possible value of a platelet temperature indicator.

After the survey closes, we’ll publish the responses so you can learn from each other. Survey participants will receive a pre-release of the results – and also be entered in the AABB drawing in Anaheim to win a FREE Val-A-Sure Cooler Validation Kit!

Thank you for taking time to participate in the survey. We look forward to your input, and are happy to provide a forum for sharing ideas in VUEPOINT.

Jeff Gutkind
jeffg@temptimecorp.com

For the entire AABB Guidelines: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the AABB.

Sources:
1 Stramer SL. Current risks of transfusion-transmitted agents: a review. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2007; 131:702-7.

2 Fuller AK, Uglik KM, Braine HG, King KE. Transfusion. 2011 Jul;51(7):1469-76. doi: 10.1111/j.1537-2995.2010.03039.x. Epub 2011 Feb 8.

COMZ VUEPOINT (doc. 2371)

Cooler Validation: Comparison of “Manual” Thermometer vs. “Automated” Data Logger Methods

In our March 2012 survey of over 70 blood banks, many respondents generally described cooler validation as a “pain,” characterizing it as time-consuming, frustrating and even primitive.

Most blood banks revalidate their transport coolers annually. And although it is only once a year, there never seems to be a good time or resource-efficient way to do it.


Using multiple data loggers allows more accurate temperature mapping of the cooler interior.

The three key factors we hear repeated most often are:
1. Time Efficiency (technician’s time)
2. Data Accuracy
3. Simplifying Documentation

At the SCABB/CBBS meeting last month, we entertained compelling discussions with blood bankers who have switched from manual cooler validations with thermometers, to using data loggers (electronic temperature recorders). Some of them are using the Val-A-SureTM Cooler Validation Kit.

If you’ve ever considered switching to an automated validation process, we thought it might be helpful to share what we’ve learned from blood bankers across the country. In the following table (next page) we compare the traditional “manual” thermometer method to the “automated” data logger method – and capture how it has changed their validation experiences.

This graph displays temperature of the top bag vs. the bottom bag. The data is downloaded from data loggers and printed for permanent validation documentation, eliminating handwritten and transcribed data.

We’ll be giving away a Val-A-Sure Cooler Validation Kit at AABB 2015, so if you’re interested in a “free” chance to change your cooler validation method, be sure to stop by and see us!

Jeffrey Gutkind
jeffg@temptimecorp.com

P.S. For more on Transport and Storage Coolers, check out our Tips, Helpful Ideas and AABB Standards References on www.williamlabs.com.

COMZ VUEPOINT – Cooler Validation-Comparison of Manual Thermometer vs. Automated Data Logger Methods – web version (doc. 2341)

Reduce RBC and FFP Waste, Improve ROI

Learn more from this Blood Transport and Storage Initiative that resulted in significant ROI

by Jeff Gutkind, Business Development Manager

I recently read an article in the journal Transfusion1 in reference to reducing red blood cell (RBC) and plasma (FFP) waste.  The study showed significant reduction in RBC and FFP waste by using a new blood transport and storage system, and a significant return on their investment in the new system (estimated savings of $9000/month for their institution).

While the article doesn’t speak to temperature indicators, it does seem to validate that there is a trend toward cooler storage in the OR being considered “intraoperative storage,” which is significant.

For those of us sensitive to blood waste (and associated costs) due to time-temperature issues, this study has a wealth of valuable information and powerful messages:The article cites a national waste rate for hospital-issued blood products ranging from 0% to 6%, and a common reason for blood waste being inadequate intraoperative storage.2

  • The article describes how most of their blood waste was from either temperature or time (away from the blood bank) excursions, and that 70% of those losses came from blood product issued to the OR in coolers.
  • In the second paragraph they state that “AABB standards require red blood cell and plasma units to be maintained at a temperature of 1-10°C during transport and 1-6°C during intraoperative storage.
  • They go on to state (under Materials and Methods) that “holding product in the OR represents a storage condition“….. and “the storage (1-6°C), not the more lenient transport (1-10°C) temperature range needed to be maintained.”

Their previous procedure was to issue blood products to the OR in off-the-shelf commercial coolers that were validated to hold product at 1-10°C for 8 hours. They changed to a new, more expensive cooler that incorporated specialty phase change material that is validated to hold 1-6°C for 18 hours. As a result of the new system and strategy, they have improved their “storage” compliance to 1-6°C and reduced waste from 1.20% to 0.06%, which they calculate to save the $9,000 per MONTH.

The result of this study suggests that incorporating a new, longer duration blood shipping and storage container has allowed the OR to store blood for up to 18 hours at 1-6°C while meeting AABB’s more strict guidelines and has produced significant cost savings and notable return on investment 

It would be interesting to see the savings if they incorporated a Safe-T-Vue 6 indicator in this study.

REFERENCES:

1. Brown MJ, Button LM, Badjie KS, Guyer JM, Dhanaroker SR, Brach EJ, Johnson PM, Stubbs JR. Implementation of an intraoperative blood transport and storage initiative and its effect on reducing red blood cell and plasma waste, Transfusion 2014;54: 710-07.

2. Heltimiller ES, Hill RB, Marshall CE, Parsons FJ, Berkow LC, Barrasso CA, Zink EK, Ness PM. Blood wastage reduction using Lean Sigma methodology. Transufions 2010;50: 1887-96.

Tips for Better Blood Handling

Lessons you’ve taught us – and why they work!

Keeping blood cold can be a challenge. Here we present a few EASY handling procedures that can be readily incorporated into the day-to-day receiving and dispensing of blood in your blood bank – and make a significant difference.

You told us in our late 2013 survey what topics were of most interest to you and your colleagues in the blood bank. The most popular choices – by a large margin – were:

  1. Proper handling of blood products, and
  2. Use of temperature sensors in blood transport to the OR and ER/Trauma

Reflecting on the conversations and comments from visitors to our booth at the 2013 AABB in Denver, this survey validated what many of you have told us about keeping blood cold and proper handling.

In this VUEPOINT we are summarizing some of the handling procedures and ideas that blood bankers from around the world have shared with us over the years.

Tip #1

Handling blood bag by edges to prevent warming blood product Always handle blood bags by the ends where there is no blood that may be warmed by normal handling.

Why?

Holding a typical 300 – 400 cc blood bag in warm human hands for even 20-30 seconds may raise the core temperature by up to 2°C. The temperature rise is faster in smaller bags (< 350 cc) so extra care should be taken to handle small bags only by parts of the bag where no blood may be warmed by handling.

Tip #2

Always keep cold packs in the blood refrigerator. Place blood bags on a cold pack immediately when removing blood from the refrigerator – MAKE IT A HABIT!

Why?

A 350 cc blood bag that starts at 3.5 °C will reach 6.0°C in approximately 6 minutes and approximately 10°C in approximately 19 minutes depending on the temperature of its environment, and the temperature of any surface it comes into contact with (hands, lab bench, etc.).

The same bag on a cold pack, where both blood and cold pack are at 3.5°C and placed on a bench at 20°C will keep the blood below 6.0°C for approximately 14 minutes and below 10.0°C for approximately 36 minutes.

This is a no-brainer! USE COLD PACKS.

350 cc Blood Bag, temperature change with and without cold pack
3.5 °C 6.0°C 10°C
Without Cold Pack START 6 minutes 19 minutes
With Cold Pack START 14 minutes 36 minutes

Tip #3

Using an adhesive temperature indicator on the blood bag is one way to monitor – and be assured – that the blood temperature has not exceeded the upper compliance temperature of 6.0° C or 10.0°C.

Why?

Adhesive temperature indicator on blood product gives visual indication

Indicators give visual indication when the blood is approaching the 6°C or 10° C compliance temperature, and then confirm if the blood exceeded temperatures – even if the blood is “re-cooled” to a compliance temperature.

QUICK ACTIVATION TIP

Temperature indicators on blood bags in blood bank refrigerator

Some blood banks have adopted a procedure to apply the indicators to blood bags as they are put in blood bank refrigerator storage – then they can quickly activate the indicator immediately when the blood is dispensed, or activate it at the same time it is applied.

VALIDATION TIP – When validating a blood indicator be certain to use a temperature recorder that measures and indicates to within 1/10th of 1°C accuracy (0.1 °C).

 

SELECTION TIP – When choosing an indicator, be sure to pay attention to and ASK FOR proof that the product has been cleared through the 510(k) process by the FDA. This can be verified by receiving the product’s FDA 510(k) registration number from your supplier. To learn more about FDA 510(k) registration, read this VUEPOINT.

 

Do You Have Any Tips To Share?

  • Are there other procedures or ideas from your blood bank that we can share?
  • Do you have unanswered questions that we can help you get answers to?

Your peers, in hundreds of blood banks around the globe, are always eager to learn from each other. Please pass on your Tips for better blood handling, and we will be sure to post them in the next VUEPOINT.